Facebook has become the first major technology company known to have put a ban in place on its employees traveling to China as the spread of the coronavirus worsens. That’s according to a report from Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter.
The ban was reportedly put into place on Monday and restricts “nonessential” travel to China by employees. Any employees that do need to travel to the region must get “specific approval” from Facebook before they go, reports Bloomberg. The outlet also says that Facebook has told employees who are in China or who have just returned home from a trip to China to work from home. The BBC says that more than 100 people have now died from the coronavirus in China, and more than 4,500 are known to be infected across 16 countries worldwide, including in the U.S.
Facebook’s decision to ban employee movement to China was probably easier to make than it would be for other tech giants like Apple and Google. Facebook sells its Portal and Oculus devices in China and overseas their development there, but beyond those devices, the social media giant does not have a large footprint in the country. However, Apple and Google, with their myriad devices prototyped and built in the country could see a profound effect on the production of those devices if the two companies decide to follow suit with Facebook’s nonessential travel employee ban.