On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc’s Google declared it is temporarily closing all its offices in China due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in the country. All the offices in mainland China and Google’s offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan will remain closed. Presently, the offices are closed for the extended Lunar New Year holiday. The Chinese government took the step to reduce the spread of the virus and also encouraged the residents to stay inside and avoid unnecessary travel.
Besides keeping its offices closed as ordered by the government, Google also temporarily restricted flying to mainland China and Hong Kong, informed a company spokesperson. Employees who are presently in China are advised by the company to return home as soon as possible and to work from home for at least 14 days from their departure date.
China, being the world’s largest internet market and manufacturing hub, a vast number of tech employees regularly travel to and from China. Most of the major companies in the industry have their offices in China, increasing the risk of spreading the virus.
Chinese officials have confirmed more than 7700 affected cases related to the virus that originated in the seafood market of Wuhan. Besides Google, Apple, and Facebook both have restricted employee travel this week. Apple said that it had closed at least one retail store in China.
The company claimed, they are regularly monitoring their employees’ temperatures and aggressively maintaining hygiene in the office spaces. Several other companies belonging to entertainment, electronics, car manufacturing, and transportation industries have started restricting employee travel to the virus affected country.