Twitter orders staff to work from home over coronavirus fears
Social media platform Twitter has ordered all its staff globally to work from home in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus epidemic.
The outbreak has spread across the world since emerging in central China late last year, killing more than 4,600 people, infecting over 126,000, and prompting a wave of travel restrictions.
The social media platform had already announced a mandatory work from home policy for its staff in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan earlier this month, and suspended "non-critical" business travel and events in February.
"We are moving beyond our earlier guidance... and have now informed all employees globally they must work from home." Twitter Human Resources Chief Jennifer Christie said in a blog post late Wednesday.
"We understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times." Other internet giants have brought in their own policies to protect their staff from infection.
Google began restricting visits to its offices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and New York on Monday, while Apple has also encouraged employees to work from home.
Facebook shut its offices in Singapore and London for "deep-cleaning" last week after an employee who had spent time in both was diagnosed with the virus.
The major software developer Microsoft and cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase have also advised employees in China to work from home and cancel all non-essential business travel.
“We’re asking some employees to start working at home this week,” Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, tweeted. “Working from home is not a complete solution but it may help slow the growth of infections,” he added.
Nestle, L'Oreal, and Cargill are among several other international corporations that have asked their employees to postpone travel for at least a few weeks.
Both Facebook and Google have cancelled their developer conferences, called F8 and I/O respectively, due to concerns over the spread in large gatherings. Also, Facebook, Twitter, and Intel have withdrawn from participating in the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conferences to be held in Austin, Texas.
(Edited by Suman Singh)