From postponing big sporting events to suspending shisha bars, here's how public and private organisations are tackling the coronavirus threat.
As more and more people contract coronavirus around the world, workplaces, no matter how small, are taking measures to fight the pandemic that has killed 4,300 people since December.
Italy and Iran are the most severely hit, after China, where the virus emerged from a wet market of Wuhan province. It has now penetrated more than a hundred countries, sparking panic worldwide.
Here are some creative ways companies have adopted to avoid the spread of the virus.
Google’s work from home initiative
The tech behemoth Google has issued a circular across its North American operations, asking its employees to work from home if their roles allow them to work remotely until at least April 10. The move is aimed at minimising the risk of contraction.
The new recommendation is an expansion of a similar guideline it gave to employees in San Francisco.
Google said it is establishing a Covid-19 fund, by which all its temporary staff and vendors can take paid sick leave if they show symptoms of the virus or are unable to come to work due to being quarantined.
The US closes its campuses
More than a dozen universities, including Harvard University and Ohio State University, which has more than 60,000 students, in the US have closed their campus classrooms amid spreading novel coronavirus in these regions.
"We are doing this not just to protect you but also to protect other members of our community who may be more vulnerable to this disease than you are,” President Lawrence S. Bacow told students.
The University of California, Los Angeles, and Duke University have recently joined the list of universities suspending their in-person classes.
These schools also advised against visiting China, Italy and South Korea during spring break. If they visited, they are being asked not to return to the campus for two weeks.
Together with suspending classes, these groups of universities switched to online courses.
Qatar bans shisha
Qatari officials announced a ban on shisha in cafes and restaurants, trying to minimise the expansion of the infection.
The ban, imposed on Tuesday, will continue until further notice, according to the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar. The country has currently 24 cases related to the epidemic.
If any people or group violates the decision, they will be subjected to legal action.
Qatar is the second country to impose the shisha ban, following another Middle Eastern country, Kuwait, last week.
Cancellation of sports tournaments and matches
Italian football was plunged into a state of chaos on Sunday when the kick-off to a Serie A match between Parma and SPAL faced a last-minute delay following Italy’s minister for sport’s call to suspend the league during the coronavirus outbreak.
Moreover, the Italian football federation (FIGC) admitted on Tuesday that the Serie A season might not finish because of the coronavirus outbreak and put forward several alternatives which included a playoff system to decide the champions and relegation.
The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, which is scheduled to start beginning this week in Indian Wells, California, was cancelled after the officials’ declaration of public health emergency in the region.
You probably all heard the news. Indian Wells cancelled. We are here and still deciding what’s next. So sad for all that is happening around the world with this situation. Hopefully soon solutions from the authorities. Stay all well and safe.— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 9, 2020
One of the world’s most popular motorsports, Formula One, announced the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead on March 22, as scheduled, however, without spectators due to the coronavirus crisis.
“Bahrain has made the decision to hold this year’s [race] as a participants-only event,” organisers said on Sunday.
However, they added: “The Chinese Grand Prix, originally slated for 17-19 April, has been postponed.”
Furthermore, the upcoming Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ was postponed by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation(AFC).
The situation of postponed matches, which are scheduled to be played on March 23-31 and June 1-9, will be discussed later by FIFA and the AFC.