Google has decided to temporarily shut down all of its offices in China due to the increased risk of Corona infections in the country. They are closing down the offices in the mainland as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Initially, the offices are closed for the Lunar New year holidays. This is a measure taken by the government to make the employees and other residents stay inside the cities and avoid traveling to reduce infection risks.
News from Google says that they are planning to keep all their offices closed in the country according to government guidance and is temporarily restricting business travels across China or Hong Kong. Google is now advising the employees in China or those who have family members in the country to return home fast and work from home for at least 14 days from their day of departure from the country.
Coronavirus epidemic originated in Wuhan, China and as of Tuesday, more than 4500 cases have been confirmed in China of which 106 have been fatal. No cases of death have been reported outside of China although other Asian countries including India has reported cases of Corona infection. Australia, France, and the United States also have reported similar cases.
This move by Google marks the escalation in the tech industries to mitigate the risks related to the virus. Most of the tech industries have close ties with China due to its ever-growing internet market which is considered the world’s largest. The country is also a manufacturing hub for most of the industries. Therefore, lots of officials have to move in and out of China routinely and many large companies have their offices there.
Google does not operate many off its popular web services from China due to historic tensions between the countries. But they do maintain four large offices there. Google’s products like Google Home speakers and Pixel phones are manufactured in China and have suppliers in the country.
Facebook and Apple have also has restricted employee travels this week and Tim Cook announced restrictions on their Chinese offices after he released the quarterly earnings report. Apple is taking measures by checking its employee’s body temperatures and other major health issues. They have closed down one retail store in China.
Various other major technological and other companies have started restricting employees travel in and out of China. Entertainment giants like Disney and other film studios have halted certain operations in the affected regions. The airlines from the US and Britain have stopped many flights to China because of the large decline in passengers.