Twitter encouraging all staff to work from home to prevent spread of coronavirus

Twitter is encouraging all staff around the world to work from home where possible as the tech giant looks to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Chief executive Jack Dorsey said the decision had been taken out of an "abundance of caution and care".

The decision will also apply to Square, the digital payments business also run by Mr Dorsey.

Twitter has already suspended all non-essential business travel and events, and is restricting visitors as part of its attempts to minimise the spread of the virus, known as Covid-19.

The social media platform's head of human resources Jennifer Christie said the company was now "strongly encouraging" all staff around the world to work from home "if they're able".

"Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus for us - and the world around us," she said.

"We are working to make sure internal meetings, all hands, and other important tasks are optimised for remote participation.

"We recognise that working from home is not ideal for some job functions. For those employees who prefer or need to come into the offices, they will remain open for business."

All Twitter staff are 'strongly encouraged' to work from home. Credit: AP

Twitter said it was also increasingly deep cleaning and sanitising in all its offices for those who needed to attend them.

However, working from home will be mandatory for Twitter employees based in the firm's Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea offices in part due to government restrictions, the company said.

Staff at tech giant Google's European headquarters in Dublin, which employs thousands, have also been told to work from home on Tuesday in a test exercise.

It is testing its preparedness by initiating a company-wide work from home day to limit the spread of infection, but most are expected to return to their desks on Wednesday.

A Google spokesman said: "We continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, in accordance with the advice of medical experts, and as part of that effort we have asked our Dublin teams to work from home tomorrow."

Twitter said it was sanitising all its offices. Credit: PA

The outbreak of Covid-19 has already had a major impact on the technology industry, with both Apple and Microsoft warning investors they are unlikely to meet previously stated revenue guidance in upcoming financial results.

A number of technology conferences and events have also been postponed or cancelled because of the outbreak, including last month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Game Developers Conference, due to take place in San Francisco later this month, has also been postponed.

Facebook has also cancelled the "in-person" parts of its annual F8 developer conference, due to take place in early May.

Both Facebook and Twitter have also pulled out of the upcoming South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.

The number of people in the UK who have tested positive for the virus stands at 39, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it is "highly likely" the number of coronavirus cases in the UK will rise, as it outlined the Government's "battle plan" to prevent the spread of the disease.

Covid-19 has been detected in at least 70 countries with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths.