Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."
Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, companies are at risk of having their employees exposed to COVID-19. With more than 1,000 cases registered in the US, Google has asked all its North American employees to work from home — and other companies should do this too.
The COVID-19 virus spreads in respiratory droplets. So if you touch surfaces where respiratory droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth may have fallen, you might catch it too. That’s why medical professionals have advised people to avoid handshakes, as well as crowded places such as public transport services, conferences, and offices.
[Read: 7 best coronavirus dashboards to map the spread of COVID-19]
Following the warning, some companies have offered their teams the option to work from home, but only in certain regions. Last week, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told the company’s employees at several global offices to work from home if possible, for the week of March 9 to 13. Microsoft has also asked its Seattle and California-based employees to work remotely till March 25.
Amazon and Facebook have also joined the pack by asking workers to use remote working facilities until the end of the month. Last week, Twitter closed its Seattle office for “deep cleaning,” as an employee was found to be possibly affected by a coronavirus.
Companies like Mircosoft, Google, and Cisco are offering discounts on their remote working tools such as Teams, Hangouts, and WebEx.
While it might not be feasible for all employees to work from home all the time, today’s modern collaboration tools can enable a large amount of workforce to avoid travel. If the virus spread continues at the current rate, companies will have to enforce remote working anyway. So it’s better to take proactive steps and ask workers to not to come to office till healthcare officials say it’s safe.
Meanwhile, scientists are trying hard to create better testing measures. However, a report from the New York Times notes that due to the lack of response from the US authorities, scientists couldn’t proceed with widespread testing and studies of the COVID-19 virus. That lapse in judgment has resulted in rapidly rising cases in the country, which are now in excess of 1,000 nationwide.
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