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COVID-19 fears force Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook employees to work from home

United States is currently under serious hit as official recommendation has been advanced to staff of leading global IT giants, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, and Microsoft to work from home after several people in the region, especially Seattle, were the coronavirus infections have been detected.

Seattle in Washington State has been most affected by the virus in the United States. 10 people have died out of 39 cases of infections through community transmission of the virus.

Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle, recommended employees in the area to work from home through the end of the month, after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus earlier on Tuesday.

The employee worked at Amazon’s South Lake Union office complex in Seattle. Two other company employees in Milan, Italy, were also infected.

Again, Facebook said on Thursday a contractor at its Seattle office was diagnosed with the coronavirus and that it would shut the location until March 9.

“A contractor based in our Stadium East office has been diagnosed with the COVID-19,” a company spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

The companies’ work from home recommendation will affect more than 100,000 people in the Seattle area, as both Microsoft and Amazon employ over 50,000 each. Facebook has more than 5,000 employees in the area.

Seattle health authorities have urged here companies to allow their employees to work from home as much as possible, stagger shifts to ease commuter congestion on public transportation and avoid large work-related gatherings.

According to the firm, “Only Facebook’s Seattle Office is closed. The rest of its offices in the US remain open, with people given the option to work from home.”

The epidemic has shown no signs of slowing, with deaths mounting globally. It has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide, mostly in China, where it originated in December.

Big tech companies have also been dropping out of several conferences and calling off corporate events as the virus spreads. Apple and Netflix on Wednesday dropped out of SXSW conference to be held later this month, citing virus concerns.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that some “essential” employees should continue to go to their work locations and that the company would follow government guidelines for disinfecting its sites for essential personnel.

In a blog post, Microsoft’s Executive Vice-President, Kurt DelBene, told employees: “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 25 March.

“Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite. Please let your manager know that you will be working from home, so all our teams remain well coordinated.

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