Facebook restricts travel to China amid virus

Facebook has become the first significant U.S.-based company to suspend travel to China in response to a new, deadly coronavirus, with other companies following suit.

The social media giant told employees on Tuesday to halt nonessential travel to mainland China, and said any employees who had traveled there are to work from home, according to Reuters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Biosafety level for China to a three — which encourages the avoidance of all nonessential travel to the country — while raising the entire Hubei region to a four, stating there is “limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens,” according to U.S. officials.

On Monday, the U.S. warned Americans to “reconsider” visiting China amid news of the coronavirus death toll ascending to 106. Airlines are also beginning to adjust schedules to avoid traveling to hot zones such as Hubei province and mainland China.

Other global companies restricting travel to China include LG Electronics and United Kingdom-based Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), with the latter banning all staff travel to Chinese-ruled Hong Kong for two weeks and to mainland China until further notice, according to a memo received by Reuters.