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Coronavirus leaves millions of Chinese workers telecommuting

James Leggate

Millions of Chinese workers have been telecommuting as a significant number of companies in the country have kept their offices closed since the Lunar New Year over coronavirus concerns.

More than 60 percent of Chinese companies in major cities have been closed since the Jan. 25 holiday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing statistics from Chinese tech company Baidu. Instead, businesses been letting employees work from home.

CORONAVIRUS CAUSES WORLDWIDE EVENT CANCELATION

The office closures have continued since most of China’s provinces and other regional leaders told businesses to stay closed through at least Feb. 10, according to the report.

With so many people working from home, web searches for “telecommuting” increased 6.25 times over the past three weeks, the Post reported from Baidu’s data.

Chinese officials said the number of new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in the country has slowed, and some companies have reopened their offices, according to the report.

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CORNAVIRUS SPREAD WILL HIT MALLS ‘HARD’

There were more than 78,000 confirmed cases in China as of Friday, according to the World Health Organization. Worldwide, there were more than 83,000 cases and 2,800 deaths attributed to the virus.

A survey this week by Coresight Research found that 17 percent of U.S. consumers planned to avoid their workplace if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

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