| 14.9°C Dublin

Majority of Google's 8,000 Irish workers told to stay home as colleague tested


Google HQ  in Dublin

Google HQ in Dublin

Google’s Dublin headquarters. Photo: Bloomberg

Google’s Dublin headquarters. Photo: Bloomberg

Warning: Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan

Warning: Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan


Google HQ in Dublin

Thousands of staff at tech giant Google's Dublin headquarters have been told to work from home today as a staff member - who presented with flu-like symptoms - is being tested for the new coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the company said the majority of its 8,000-strong Irish workforce - based at its sprawling campus in the Dublin docklands - are to work from home.

However, the company insisted the measure is to 'test' the ability of its staff to work remotely.

"We continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, and as part of that effort we have asked our Dublin teams to work from home tomorrow," the spokesperson said.

A source said the worker in question has not tested positive or negative for the virus at this stage.

But "out of an abundance of caution" staff have been told to work from home and to monitor their health.

The move affects all of Google staff apart from those based in the firm's data centres in Sandyford and Eastpoint.

The so-called 'Work From Home' day is being conducted to test "operational readiness" and ensure the company's "ability to perform at full capacity in case of an extended period", the source said.

"This is not the first Google office we have closed for a day or more - we have been doing this for some time now as we prioritise worker safety and manage a dynamic situation," the source added.

Meanwhile, Ireland could be struck with clusters of cases of the new coronavirus in the near future with one person infecting another, chief medical officer Tony Holohan warned yesterday.

The risk of widespread transmission in Europe within weeks is "moderate to high".

He was speaking as the expert group here overseeing the coronavirus crisis meets today to finalise guidelines on mass gatherings which may have implications for the St Patrick's Day Festival going ahead.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

The current risk of someone catching the virus in the Republic remains low and there remains just one confirmed case - a Dublin school pupil who was infected in northern Italy.

Meanwhile, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said the EU's disease prevention agency had raised its assessment of the coronavirus risks in the bloc to high, as the outbreak spread to most EU states.

"The ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) announced that the risk level has risen from moderate to high for people in the European Union," she said.

Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said 2,100 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in 18 of the 27 EU states, and 38 EU citizens had now died because of the disease.

No further member of the pupils or staff in the Dublin school which has been closed for two weeks have tested positive.

The health officials said a close contact is someone who is in proximity for 15 minutes to an infected person who has symptoms of the disease.

Government sources said hotels are concerned their staff are at greater risk of contracting the virus because they expect to be in close contact with rugby fans coming from the infected regions of Italy. Many are expected to travel to Dublin despite the match being cancelled as they already have flights and accommodation booked.

Most Watched