Many of you have privately text or email me to check if I am safe during this coronavirus outbreak. I have just returned from Singapore after the Chinese New Year celebration with our families and friends.

It does put a slight damper on the festive season with people you met either masked up or talking about the latest death count or the infected ones. However, this doesn’t mean we forget those who put themselves at risk to save and serve others.

I love the saying of “Firefighters are heroes. They run into a burning building when everyone else is running away from it. This goes the same with doctors and nurses. When everyone is shunning the sick and diseased, they are the ones who care.

Besides the medical community, there are plenty of others who put themselves at risk. Flight attendants and pilots who are cooped up in the small confined plane for hours, custom officers who sees thousands of travellers per day, and retail frontliners who have to serve customers regardless they looked sick.

Several companies with branches in China and other affected countries are now enacting preventive measures to ensure that their employees are safe from Coronavirus. And I want to highlight some of these companies who do right by their employees during this time of crisis.

What is the Coronavirus or Covid-19?

The coronavirus or now called Covid-19 is a newly discovered type of coronavirus – novel coronavirus.

Similar to other coronaviruses, the novel coronavirus came from animals. So far, it is still uncertain which animal has triggered the virus, but studies all point out that the virus started spreading from a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan.

Since it was discovered, the virus already killed 100 people, infected 7,500 people in China and spread to other parts of the globe. Those who have been affected by the virus contract pneumonia and unlike regular pneumonia, antibiotics do not work for people with the coronavirus.

Most of those who have been confirmed to have the virus has traveled in mainland China, specifically to Wuhan. Some even visited the seafood market in question during their trips.

What are companies doing right now?

Companies with an international presence in China and countries with confirmed cases have already issued several measures to protect their workers.

Here below are some measures of what has been done so far by these companies:

Amazon

Amazon has announced that it is restricting any business travel in and out of China until there are changes.

For their employees in China, the company said they can work from home for a week or two before they travel back to their offices in affected outbreak areas.

Apple

In his statement before analysts on Tuesday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that employee travel to China is restricted with “business-critical travel” allowed in limited numbers.

Deep-cleaning is also done to all Apple stores worldwide, as well as regular temperature checks for their staff. Since the coronavirus outbreak, they closed down three stores in mainland China.

Facebook

Bloomberg reported that Facebook employees in China are told to work from home until the coronavirus outbreak is contained.

Any employee who traveled to China is asked to work from home for a short period of time as a precautionary measure. All non-essential travel to China is also canceled for all Facebook employees.

Google

For Google, it has closed down its stores and offices in China and postponed all business travel. Employees in China or those with family coming home from China are asked to work from home for 14 days.

Microsoft

According to Forbes, the company ordered that employees in China work from home in the meantime and cancel any business travel in and out of the country.

Airbnb

In an announcement on Thursday, any host and guests affected by the coronavirus outbreak can cancel their bookings for free.

Shanghai Disneyland Resort

Shanghai Disneyland Resort and its hotels are also closed temporarily with refunds available for guests.

Wynn Resorts

Guests are temperature screened before they can enter the casino. Staff members are also asked to wear respiratory masks for extra protection.

KFC

Yum China, owners of the KFC franchise in China, said that since January 24, certain KFC Wuhan branches have been temporarily closed due to this coronavirus outbreak.

They are also enforcing preventative measures to protect both employees and customers alike in all their other restaurants in China.

Pizza Hut

Yum China also adds that some Pizza Hut locations around Wuhan have been shut down and will remain closed indefinitely.

Starbucks

In their Weibo account, Starbucks confirms that they closed down all their stores in Hubei province, including the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai. They are also in close contact with local health officials to protect their customers and partners against the spread of coronavirus.

McDonald’s

On Friday, McDonald’s said that they are canceling all operations indefinitely in five cities, namely Xiantao, Ezhou, Qianjiang, Wuhan and Huanggang. Crews will be provided with masks across their stores in China and diners will be given free hand sanitizers.

Dairy Queen

All Wuhan branches of Dairy Queen are closed since January 22.

Gap Inc.

Five Gap stores have been closed in China since the outbreak. They have also temporarily closed down all three Old Navy branches in China.

Bayer AG

They pledged to donate 1.5 million euros worth of financial aid and medicine to everyone affected by the virus outbreak. A majority of this donation will be used to assist medical staff in getting protective clothing.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

All business travel going to Wuhan are now suspended. For employees who visited Wuhan, they are required to work from home for a two-week period before they can return to work in the office.

Chinese New Year breaks for its Hong Kong and Macau staff have been extended to January 31. The company also said employees can opt to work from home.

Shiseido Co

Employee travel to China is now banned for all Shiseido employees.

Carnival Corp and Royal Carribean Cruises Ltd.

Nine cruises departing China from January 25 to February 4 are suspended until further notice.

Royal Carribean also suspended their January 27 and 31 trips. Refunds will be provided to customers who are affected by these suspensions.

Fast Retailing Co

Uniqlo temporarily closed down 50 of their stores in China until further notice.

Ryohin Keikaku Co

Muji branches in Wuhan have been closed down temporarily.

Aeon

The supermarket brand from Japan closed down three Aeon Malls in Wuhan. However, their five supermarket stores are still open on a limited capacity to sell food and other key goods to citizens.

Nitori Holdings Co

Seven stores of the company in Wuhan have been closed temporarily. Their Shanghai and Suzhou branches now have shorter work hours.

Imax Corp

Movie releases in all Chinese theaters will be postponed indefinitely despite the losses it will bring to the company.

Nissan

They will be repatriating their employees and their family members in a Japanese government-chartered flight. Work from home will be given to employees in Japan after a case was confirmed in the country.

Honda Motor Co

Around 30 Japanese workers for the company and their families, as well as any family member and employee currently on business trips in China will be evacuated out of Wuhan using a chartered plane from the government.

However, there will be a few people who will remain in Wuhan to keep operations afloat.

Groupe PSA

All of Peugeot’s expatriate staff members and their families will be evacuated from Wuhan.

Hennes & Mauritz AB

H&M closed 13 Chinese stores temporarily in light of the outbreak and suspend business travels to and from China.

IKEA

IKEA also closed down its Wuhan warehouse and half of their 30 branches since January 30.

Delta Airlines

They are offering travel waivers for passengers traveling to and from Beijing or Shanghai from January 24 to January 31 for free.

Scoot Airlines

They are offering a refund or a rebook on flights to China, Hong Kong and Macau as well as a suspension of all flights between Singapore and China from 8 February until end of March.

WeWork

All 55 Chinese offices are closed and employees are asked to work from home. Those who flew from China are asked to work from home for a short period of time.

Walmart

In a statement to Business Insider, US supermarket giant Walmart said that they will still have their Chinese locations open despite the coronavirus outbreak. However, precautionary measures are enforced to protect customers and staff.

Conclusion

It is not clear when the virus will be stopped from spreading across China and the world. However, while it is not yet clear when it will end, do not indulge in fear-mongering and always fact-check the source of your news.

Wherever you are, let’s take precaution by observing good hygiene:
Wash your hands
Use mask
Have your temperature checked regularly
Avoid large crowd
Never touch your face with unclean hands

To my China friends who are reading this post
中国加油!武汉加油!

Can’t get enough of MiddleMe? You can find me sharing my thoughts here as well: 
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Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.

56 replies on “Covid-19 Outbreak: What are Companies doing right by their employees

  1. Not all Chinese are responsible for what is happening in China, for decisions made by the government.
    The Chinese people are certainly adorable, sympathetic.
    The concern: China will one day be the greatest power. The future in 50 years, where Europe will have taken 300 years and the USA 250 years, causes unpredictable dysfunctions suddenly: unmanageable.

    Merci Kally pour ton passage.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Thank You for the information, Kally. That is important to “fight” the virus. BTW, the most effective mask is an “N95” that fits tighter on the face and this mask is only needed when you are in enclosed spaces, near infected people. The masks in your photo are most effective if you are infected and wish to reduce spreading the disease.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s a diesease, just like all the deadly diesease we have faced before, it’s time to take our hygiene standard to next level in order to stay away from such virus, Thanks to corona for making people health conscious, plus there is always an end that has beginning, I’m sure China would find the cure very soon and help other countries in fighting this deadly virus. Let’s stop imagining all the possibilities you will get infected, let’s take each day as your special day✨ Live your day and stay Safe, play smart ✨☺️😉 Safe week ahead Kally✨🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Awesome POST Kally, thanks (your daughter is growing up so quickly).

    Through this all God has a plan, and is in charge. Nothing is coincidental.

    Life and God are bot mysteries so that we have the opportunity to grow in faith; and in this incident ; to grow in Faith,in Hope and in Love and we reach out to our sisters and brothers. who are in such dire straits.

    May God watch over all of you, and aid the medical community in curtailing this disease.
    With prayers,
    Patrick

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with anyone who’s caught in this. I have been called upon by coworkers and friends as to how to deal with a shortage of protective masks. ( Because I’m a prepper. ) In theory, a paintball mask or a mask intended for motorcross could be modified to accept a hepa filter for a vacuum cleaner. The hepa filter is made to filter out viruses. Ozone generators can Easily be built by someone with electrical skills and they destroy viruses as does certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. You have to be creative and understand how a mask works. The paper masks don’t really filter. They don’t form a secure seal.
        My background is in forestry and as part of the degree I had to pass 2 levels of insect and disease control and become certified to work with pesticides ( many of which are nerve gas )
        In order for a mask to be an effective filter you must do negative and positive pressure tests. If you cover the intake and inhale the mask should suck in against your face a little. If you cover the filters and exhale the mask should lift.
        So the paintball mask in just a frame. You’ll need to figure out rubber seal for the edges and then a way to attach the filters so there’s no air leaks.
        The vector of the virus seems to cutaneous ( By touching something that is contaminated ) so wearing surgical gloves and not touching your face Will probably mitigate a lot of risks.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Prayers and other hopeful wishes, Kally, to you, your family and friends.

    It’s disturbing enough a situation even from here, half a world away. The strength you must have to have his be a “local” problem for you.

    May that, and your obvious intelligence, be sufficient for you to endure!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Take care Kally, this blog post is very useful information and relevant to all of us. I know there are British people in quarantine. I hope the Corona virus does not spread and become much worse.
    Dave 🙂 🧧

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The China coronavirus was certainly a damper during the Lunar New Year holiday and it’s only gotten scarier since then. It’s rocked Hong Kong in so many ways and in fact, it has affected my personal and professional situation so much that I am not there anymore. I hope Malaysia can contain the outbreak and that you stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

          1. Indeed, South Korea’s outbreak is scary. All the more so given that weird cult apparently might have purposefully spread it (the selfish individual you mentioned is from that cult?).

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Yes, I heard that the selfish individual is from that cult who deliberately tried to spread the virus. Now, Iran topped the scary list because it is rumoured that the government tried to keep the actual figure of infected persons under wrap.

            Like

          3. I read the cult leader might be investigated on murder charges, which I think is warranted. Iran’s outbreak is so severe that senior officials and MPs are getting sick and even dying, which even in China didn’t happen, so I wonder if government negligence played a role.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. For once, I am glad for having social media for it puts greater pressure for government all around to be transparent in this matter. Everyday, I see the numbers going up like an Olympic ranking and it is assuring to read what other countries are doing to safeguard their citizens’ health. Even now that Iran has a death penalty for those who hoard supplies.

            Like

          5. Yes, it is good we can keep track of numbers and what other countries are doing. However, while high numbers are worrying, what is also a concern are very low numbers such as Indonesia and Philippines. Some people say hot weather kills the coronavirus but Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have quite a number of cases.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. I’m not so sure why some countries have very low numbers. I know singapore (I’ve been following their updates very diligently since I have family members and friends there) have been doing a lot of heavy duty work of contact tracing. Singapore government got the police involved. They interviewed all those infected and get them to recall every event that happens in the last 14 days ie where they go, who they’ve met, where they ate, what transportation they took. Using that info, they contact everyone the infected comes into contact and imposed strict quarantine measures (with punishment like revoking their work permit and student pass or school suspension if they did not follow quarantine regulations).

            Liked by 1 person

          7. I’ve read about Singapore’s efforts and they are certainly doing a lot. They certainly aren’t messing around in terms of punishing those who break quarantine (I saw that at least one foreigner was actually banned from reentering Singapore), but I can understand. I see the numbers are going up across SE Asia and while I’m sure Singapore can handle it, I’m worried by certain other countries with large populations and previously low case counts.

            Like

  9. Bonjour ou Bonsoir mon Ami, (ie)
    Vois-tu !
    Un commentaire c’est peu de choses
    Quelques virgules et quelques points
    Ce sont des mots qui sautent
    Afin de composer des phrases en minuscules commençant par une majuscule

    Alors j’y mets tout mon cœur pour que tu en déchiffres de la teneur
    Chaque mot chante quand j’écris ces mots
    Chaque point en devient un sourire
    Chaque virgule ,pour partager une émotion
    Dans mes points de suspension
    Je te fais valoir ma tendresse comme une note qui s’envole en musique
    Tout cela est pour toi

    Je te souhaite une excellente soirée ou journée
    Toujours agréable de venir sur ton blog voir tes nouveautées et surtout te saluer
    Gros bisous Amitié
    Bernard
    UNE PLAIE CE VIRUS VIVEMENT QUE L ON TROUVE UN VACCIN

    Liked by 1 person

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