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Most tech firms which would usually prefer on-site work are currently rethinking that stance based on the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

CORONAVIRUS

The spread of the deadly coronavirus in the moment is doing for tech firms what no other arguments for remote working apparently could, as Facebook, Google, and others are asking their employees to do their jobs from their homes. Those policies are now looking ever more like sensible measures to be taken, as this week Amazon has confirmed that one of its employees based in Seattle tested positive for the contagious virus. The employee reportedly went home feeling sick on the 25th of February and has not been able to return to office since. In Italy, two more Amazon employees based in the country have also tested positive for the virus.

Washington state’s King County which is home to Seattle and its tech-heavy suburbs Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue, is the site of the biggest outbreak of “COVID-19” in the United States so far. Microsoft, another tech firm which is also based in Seattle area, is currently allowing employees based in its San Francisco or Seattle offices to work from the comfort of their houses through at least March 9.

Google, which is known to have tended not to support large scale telework in the past has now ordered most of its 8,000 employees based in Dublin office to work remotely and stay at home this week after one of its employees reported “flu-like symptoms” last Monday.

Twitter, also, went big on telework this past week in light of Coronavirus, “strongly encouraging ” all its employees worldwide to work from their homes if they are able while also mandating that employees in Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong do so.

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After cancelling its developer conference, Facebook, has reportedly told employees that they can work from home without taking managerial approval.

The virus was spotted for the first time in Wuhan in January, and at the end of that month, authorities in China banned travel to or from Wuhan and other nearby cities. Americans and other nationals who were repatriated from the city of Wuhan amid the outbreak were put in quarantine, but somehow, the disease has been able to spread throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and even Africa in a recent development.

Giant companies, including various major tech firms, likewise first banned travel to or from China for their workers, later expanding their travel restrictions. This present week, Google paused all international travel for its workers, along with the cancellation of its I/O developer conference, designated to hold in May.

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