Google employee down with COVID-19, Amazon curbs travel

San Francisco: A Google employee in Switzerland was tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on Saturday, as tech giants like Amazon announced travel restrictions for employees amid growing fears of a pandemic.

According to a report in the NPR, the Google employee was in its Zurich office “for a limited time” before showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“We can confirm that one employee from our Zurich office has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. They were in the Zurich office for a limited time, before they had any symptoms,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

“We have taken – and will continue to take – all necessary precautionary measures, following the advice of public health officials, as we prioritize everyone’s health and safety,” the spokesperson added.

The company said it has not shut down its Zurich office but has restricted employees to travel to Iran, Italy and China and is set to expand the travel curb to Japan and South Korea next month.

Google has also cancelled its ‘Global News Initiative’ summit in northern California in April while Facebook has also called off its flagship F8 developer conference in May.

“We regret that we have to cancel our global Google News Initiative summit but the health and wellbeing of our guests is our number one priority,” said the company in a statement given to CNN.

On Friday, the World Health Organization said that the risk of global impact from the virus was “very high” as the coronavirus reached 57 countries.

An Amazon spokesperson said that the company has put a restriction for all non-essential travel.

The death toll due to the outbreak in China has risen to 2,835, health authorities said on Saturday, while the number of confirmed cases increased to 79,251.

(IANS)