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Silicon Valley Hits Back at Coronavirus

Twitter, Google, other tech firms pushing remote work, other measures to stop COVID-19 spread
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2020 8:26 AM CST
Updated Mar 3, 2020 6:10 PM CST

(Newser) – With coronavirus seeping into more corners of the world—Gizmodo puts its presence in nearly 70 countries, with more than 91,000 sickened and at least 3,100 dead—Twitter just made a major move to stop the spread. The BBC reports the social media giant has told its workers worldwide that it's "strongly encouraging" them all to start working remotely beginning ASAP, out of "an abundance of caution," per a company blog post on Sunday. In Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, telecommuting isn't an ask, it's a mandate, "due in part to government restrictions." Twitter is reportedly the first big US company to make a work-from-home policy official in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For those who want to or need to head into the office, the company says it will up its deep cleaning and sanitizing in "all spaces," as well as put up signage reminding employees on best practices for personal hygiene and eating. "While this is a big change for us, we have already been moving towards a more distributed workforce that's increasingly remote," its blog post reads. "We're a global service and we're committed to enabling anyone, anywhere to work at Twitter." Business Insider notes Google, Facebook, Amazon, cryptocurrency company Coinbase, and other Silicon Valley tech firms are also taking various preventive measures, from telecommuting and restricting employee travel to canceling on-site job interviews and nixing visits from guests. Later Tuesday, Google announced it is canceling Google I/O, the developer conference that is its biggest event of the year, over virus concerns. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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