Tech

Amazon restricts employee travel to China 'until further notice' as coronavirus spreads

Key Points
  • Amazon has begun restricting all non-essential employee travel to China as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.
  • The company told employees it's banning travel there "until further notice." 
  • Amazon joins a growing list of U.S. technology companies that have limited operations in the country.
Nikol Szymul staffs a reception desk at Amazon offices discretely tucked into a building called Fiona in downtown Seattle, Washington on May 11, 2017.
Getty Images

Amazon has started restricting employee travel to China as the coronavirus continues to spread, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

"We place tremendous value and focus on the well-being and safety of our employees," an Amazon spokesperson said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting business travel to and from China until further notice and encouraging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines provided by international health agencies such as the CDC and WHO."

Amazon said it's banning all non-essential travel to the country, but if employees must travel to China, they have to receive approval first. The company also recommended that employees who are or expect to travel back from one of the affected provinces of China to work from home for two weeks. If they start to experience symptoms, Amazon has urged employees to seek medical attention before returning to the office.

The company does not have offices in Wuhan, China, where the majority of coronavirus cases have been reported. But it does operate offices in other areas of the country, including Beijing, Shenzen, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Amazon's cloud-computing, retail and device divisions are among its businesses that have teams in the country.

Amazon joins a growing list of U.S. technology companies that have limited work in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Apple have all announced similar moves, while other companies including Disney, McDonald's, Starbucks and Ford Motor have either suspended operations or instituted travel restrictions there.

More than 100 people have died from the disease, while total confirmed cases have risen to more than 6,000. The majority of confirmed cases are in China, but within the last week, five cases have been confirmed in the U.S.

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