Amazon and Microsoft restrict employee travel to China as tech giants react to spread of coronavirus

Amazon HQ
The view from inside an Amazon building in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Amazon, Microsoft and other tech giants are restricting employee travel to and from China in the wake of concern over the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 130 people and infected 6,000.

  • “We place tremendous value and focus on the well-being and safety of our employees,” an Amazon spokesperson said Wednesday. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting business travel to and from China until further notice and encouraging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines provided by international health agencies such as the CDC and WHO.”  The World Health Organization’s travel guidelines were updated this week.
  • Amazon is recommending that employees who are or will be traveling back from one of the affected provinces of China work from home for a 14 day period. In the event that they experience symptoms, the company is asking employees to seek medical attention prior to returning to the office. CNBC reported that Amazon does not have offices in Wuhan, China, where the majority of coronavirus cases have been reported. But it does operate offices in other areas of the country.
  • “The health and safety of our employees and their families is a top priority,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “Based on the evaluation of risk communicated by global health authorities we have advised employees in China to work from home and cancel all non-essential business travel until February 9, 2020.” Facebook, Google and Apple also took precautions related to travel and working in China, and Forbes reported that Google temporarily shut down all offices in the country.

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