San Francisco, March 5 (IANS) Microsoft has allowed employees in Seattle and San Francisco to work from home till March 25 as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the US.
The tech giant has also recommended that those who are feeling sick, have a compromised immune system, or have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 should work from home.
The company employs nearly 54,000 people in the Seattle region.
“Consistent with King County guidance, we are recommending all employees who are in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25th. Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite,” said Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene in a statement on Wednesday.
There are currently more than 94,000 cases of COVID-19 globally, with 128 confirmed in the US.
King County in Washington State has reported 21 cases and eight deaths.
Amazon has also confirmed that an employee at its Seattle headquarters has been tested positive for COVID-19.
“If in your role it is essential to be in the office or other work environments (data centre, retail, etc.), plan to continue to go to your location. We will continue to implement the CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitising the locations,” said DelBene.
The exceptions to this new guidance are the following groups who are being advised by health authorities to avoid interaction in large groups or public settings: If you are over 60, If you have an underlying health condition (heart disease, diabetes, etc.), if your immune system is compromised or if you are pregnant.
“In these cases, you should work with your manager to determine leave options or other accommodations available to you. If you are a caregiver of someone that is immune system compromised, please contact your health provider for input,” said Microsoft.
“Limit prolonged interactions and try to stay more than six feet (1.8 meters) away from others. Keep in-person meetings as short as possible. Most importantly do not come to work if you are sick. This will be clearly posted on all building entrances,” said the company.
The company has already cancelled all non-essential business travel in regions with active COVID-19.
Twitter has also told its 5,000-string workforce to work from home.