Microsoft Corp has joined the growing bandwagon of U.S. companies asking employees to work from home so as to limit their exposure to China’s coronavirus.
Microsoft has asked many of its employees in the Seattle region and in the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home until March 25.
“Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite,” said Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President in a blog post.
However, those employees for whom “it is essential to be in the office or other work environments”, including those who work at data centers and retail employees, should continue to go to their work locations.
Microsoft also stated, it would follow government guidelines for disinfecting its sites for essential personnel.
Microsoft has also asked employees to suspend any business travel to the areas “unless essential for the continuity of Microsoft.”
Employees should cancel non-essential travel to areas with active coronavirus cases, including countries in the Amercicas, Europe, and Asia. Employees are also not required to travel if they have concerns about doing so.
On Wednesday, the number of coronavirus cases have shot up to 39, up from 27 cases in the greater Seattle area. The number of deaths due to the outbreak has also risen to 10, up from 9 a day earlier, according to the Washington State Health Department.
The Seattle area has been the largest concentration of coronavirus cases detected to date in the United States with multiple cases connected to a long-term care facility for the elderly.
Microsoft has also implemented new guidelines for employees who come to its offices.
It has recommended “limiting prolonged close interactions with people” by keeping in-person meetings as short as possible and staying at least 6 feet away from one other.