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Amazon planning remote-access stress test for all employees amid coronavirus concerns

·Editor-at-Large
·2 min read
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Amid rising concerns over the spread of coronavirus, Amazon has asked all of its employees globally to test their VPN connection on March 5 by logging in remotely, Yahoo Finance has learned.

The purpose of the test is to ensure the company’s internal system can support a scenario in which all Amazon employees work from home for an extended period of time, if need be.

The email sent to employees on Wednesday asks them to log in via VPN at any time on Thursday, for at least 10 minutes. The email does not specifically mention coronavirus or COVID-19, but multiple sources say that is the impetus of the test.

Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Seattle. Amazon, which is growing too big for its Seattle hometown, is spreading out to the East Coast. The online shopping giant ended its 14-month-long competition for a second headquarters Tuesday by selecting New York and Arlington, Va., as the joint winners. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

JPMorgan Chase is doing something similar, asking 10% of its U.S. employees to work from home on the same day to test their remote access capabilities, Bloomberg News reported.

Amazon PR did not reply to Yahoo Finance requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Amazon (AMZN) notified its U.S. employees that a worker in Seattle had contracted the virus, the first confirmed coronavirus case among its U.S. workforce. The company had already confirmed two employees in Italy contracted the virus.

Graphic by David Foster/Yahoo Finance
Graphic by David Foster/Yahoo Finance

Amazon last week halted all employee business travel abroad and within the U.S., and changed scheduled in-person job interviews to video conferences. As a result, many employees have already been working from home this week.

Seattle and the surrounding metro area has been the first major U.S. city hit with an outbreak of coronavirus. Elsewhere in Seattle, Starbucks on Wednesday said it would change the format of its March 18 in-person shareholder meeting to webcast-only.

Amazon is hardly the only major tech company taking coronavirus precautions. Google canceled its annual I/O developer conference scheduled for May, and Facebook and Twitter have pulled out of the South By Southwest tech conference in Austin later this month, canceling all employee appearances on panels.

Daniel Roberts is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

Read more from Yahoo Finance about how companies are reacting to coronavirus:

Twitter, Amazon, Nike and more take emergency coronavirus precautions

All the ways coronavirus is hitting the sports world

Coronavirus is stoking fears of Tokyo Olympics customer cancellations

Nike warns coronavirus will have ‘material impact’ on its China business

HSBC downgrades Nike on coronavirus fears

Under Armour warns of coronavirus impact in China, analyst says it has ‘peaked’ in America

Coronavirus and travel: What you need to know