Google staff in Dublin told to stay at home after worker shows ‘flu-like’ symptoms

Some of firm’s irish-based employees asked to self-isolate as a precautionary measure

Google, which has 8,000 employees in Dublin, is also testing its wider preparedness by initiating a company-wide work from home day on Tuesday.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Google, which has 8,000 employees in Dublin, is also testing its wider preparedness by initiating a company-wide work from home day on Tuesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

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Some staff at Google in Dublin have been told to work from home after a co-worker reported flu-like symptoms, The Irish Times has learned.

The person concerned is not a confirmed case of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but a source said people who may be close contacts of the individual have been told to work at home until there is greater clarity on whethey they are at risk.

A source said the measure was being taken “out of an abundance of caution”.

The multinational, which has over 8,000 employees in Dublin, is also testing its wider preparedness by initiating a company-wide work from home day on Tuesday. All staff will participate in this event. The majority of its employees will return to work in its Dublin offices on Wednesday.

A Google spokeswoman said: “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.”

It is understood that this is not the first time a Google office has been closed for a day or more as a result of the coronvirus, and the company has been doing so across its network for some time amid an emphasis on worker safety.

On Monday, Minister for Health Simon Harris said the Government may approve income support for workers who had to self-isolate due to the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Mr Harris told RTÉ Six One News the Government would be “publishing very shortly” guidelines for businesses which might have to deal with their workers not being available to come into work on the advice of the HSE. The Minister suggested there may be support available from the Department of Social Protection in some cases. However, he emphasised this would only apply if self-isolation became more widespread.