Tech

Facebook restricts employee travel to China as coronavirus spreads

Key Points
  • Facebook has joined a growing list of U.S. companies that are restricting employee travel as the coronavirus spreads. 
  • The company said it was restricting employee travel "out of an abundance of caution." 
  • More than 100 people have died from the disease, while total confirmed cases have risen to more than 4,600.
A Facebook sign is seen at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China November 6, 2019.
Aly Song | Reuters

Facebook has started restricting employee travel to China, joining a growing list of U.S. companies that have done the same amid a growing outbreak of the coronavirus.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken steps to protect the health and safety of our employees," Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison told CNBC in a statement.

The travel restrictions were announced on Monday. Facebook has banned all non-essential travel the country, but if employees must visit China, they have to receive approval first. The company has also told employees who work in China, or who have recently traveled there, to work from home, Facebook said.

Facebook is the first major U.S. technology company to ban all non-essential travel to the country. Other companies including Disney, McDonald's, Starbucks and Ford Motor have either suspended operations or instituted travel restrictions there. Apple shares fell on Monday amid concerns that the company, which has high revenue exposure in China, would be hurt by any impact the coronavirus might have on consumer spending.

More than 100 people have died from the disease, while total confirmed cases have risen to more than 4,600. The majority of cases have been reported in Wuhan, China, but within the last week, five cases have been confirmed in the U.S.

-- CNBC's Sal Rodriguez contributed to this report.

Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.

VIDEO3:1603:16
China ramps up preparations for rise in coronavirus cases