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Google and Amazon limit employees’ travel because of coronavirus fears

Google and Amazon limit employees’ travel because of coronavirus fears


A Google employee in Switzerland has a confirmed case of the virus

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Google UK Offices, London
Photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

Google is preventing employees from traveling to Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea because of outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, Business Insider reported. Amazon is asking employees to defer all nonessential travel, a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge, which includes domestic travel within the US.

Both companies had already halted employee travel to China, and Google temporarily closed down its offices in China at the end of January.

A Google employee in Zurich, Switzerland, has the novel coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge. “They were in the Zurich office for a limited time, before they had any symptoms,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Amazon senior vice president Dave Clark wrote in an email that employees should not schedule meetings that call for travel until at least the end of April, The New York Times reported. The company is one of the leading buyers of corporate air travel, and it booked $220 million in flights in 2017.

Amazon is one of the leading buyers of corporate air travel

Amazon is also canceling all on-site interviews for job candidates, Gizmodo reported. Interviews will be held over video chat.

There are currently over 83,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, worldwide. China has the largest number of cases, but outbreaks are escalating in countries like Japan and South Korea, which now has over 2,300 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

The tech industry has seen significant impact from the ongoing outbreaks, including store closures across China and production delays. Organizers canceled Mobile World Congress after companies like Amazon, ZTE, and Sony pulled out, and Facebook canceled the in-person portion of its annual F8 developer conference.

Update February 28, 4:20PM ET: Updated with additional information on Amazon’s interview policy.