Apple Restricts Employee Travel to South Korea and Italy, Two Countries Hit Hard by Coronavirus
Apple is no longer allowing its employees to travel to Italy or South Korea because of the coronavirus outbreak affecting those countries, reports Bloomberg.
Apple had already restricted employee travel to China, which is an issue because Apple engineers often visit China at this time of year to prepare for the manufacturing of new iPhones.
"We have instituted specific travel restrictions in a few countries including China, South Korea, and Italy," Apple said in a memo sent out to employees. Apple recommends employees manage meetings through phone calls and video chats.
"There are many ways to continue to manage our ongoing meetings and activities through calls and video. If you do have travel planned, we suggest you work with your managers to consider delaying or canceling business travel which could be postponed or managed through virtual meetings."
At the current time, employees are only able to travel to those areas for business-critical reasons and must have approval from a company vice president.
Apple only has one supplier in Italy, STMicroelectronics, but it works with multiple suppliers in South Korea. One Apple supplier in South Korea, LG Innotek, shut down earlier this week after a factory worker tested positive for coronavirus. The factory, which is in Gumi, South Korea, is close to Daegu, where many of the COVID-19 cases in the country are centered.
Apple also operates one store in South Korea and 17 in Italy, but none of those have been shut down at this time.
Apple has also said that "deep cleaning protocols" are considered a "top priority" and are in effect across stores, offices, and employee shuttles. Apple recommends that any employee who is sick, especially with a fever or severe cough, should take sick leave "until they have fully recovered."