Apple and other tech giants meeting at White House re: coronavirus plans

Apple is one of six tech giants attending a White House meeting today to discuss coronavirus plans.

Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter are said to be the other companies attending the meeting with US Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios … 

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Politico reports.

The White House will convene representatives from the largest technology companies on Wednesday to discuss ways the federal government and the industry can coordinate their response to the unfolding coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter are all expected to participate in person or via teleconference, a spokesperson for the Office of Science and Technology Policy said.

The meeting will likely review the coronavirus plans implemented by tech companies, and discuss whether further precautions are needed.

Most of the major tech platforms restricted nonessential travel for employees and canceled their participation in major technology conferences to reduce the likelihood of community spread.

Several have also taken the extraordinary step of instructing employees to work from home, especially those in areas like Seattle that have seen the largest number of confirmed cases.

Apple’s own response included restricting employee travel, full or partial store closures, pulling out of industry events, encouraging employees to work from home, giving retail staff unlimited sick leave, rejecting misleading coronavirus apps, deep-cleaning offices, and launching special news coverage. It is also expected that the company will cancel this year’s WWDC, turning it instead into an online event.

The latest WHO report says there have now been more than 4,000 deaths out of more than 113,000 confirmed cases across 109 countries. Emergency measures have been declared in some 45 countries. The organization says we need to focus on six objectives:

  • Interrupt human-to-human transmission including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers, preventing transmission amplification events, and preventing further international spread;
  • Identify, isolate and care for patients early, including providing optimized care for infected patients;
  • Identify and reduce transmission from the animal source;
  • Address crucial unknowns regarding clinical severity, extent of transmission and infection, treatment options, and accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines;
  • Communicate critical risk and event information to all communities and counter misinformation;
  • Minimize social and economic impact through multisectoral partnerships.

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Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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