Local media: NetEase Beijing employee tests positive for Covid-19, staff ordered to work from home

Chinese gaming giant NetEase has reportedly asked staff at its Beijing office to work from home after an employee tested positive for Covid-19. NetEase’s Beijing office is near those of several other major Chinese Internet companies including Tencent and ByteDance. — SCMP

Chinese gaming giant NetEase has asked all staff at its Beijing office to prepare to work from home after an employee tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday night, according to local media reports.

According to a screenshot of an internal email circulated online by both state-run Chinese media outlet Legal Daily and Phoenix New Media’s news portal Ifeng.com, the employee reported having a fever on Thursday night.

The person’s nucleic acid test came back positive, but the diagnosis is not confirmed, as a serological test result on Friday morning came back negative, according to a screenshot of the internal email. Nucleic acid tests generally use samples from the nose and lower respiratory tract, whereas serological testing refers to blood tests that look for antibodies to the virus.

The employee’s roommate was reportedly in close contact with an earlier Covid-19 case in Beijing.

On Saturday, NetEase confirmed that the employee had tested positive, but also said that after testing all the employees at that office, no one else tested positive.

NetEase’s Beijing office in the Haidian district is in close proximity with the offices of several other major Chinese Internet companies, including Baidu, Tencent Holdings, Sina, Kuaishou and TikTok owner ByteDance. It is not currently clear whether companies with offices nearby will also ask employees to work from home.

Early last year, millions of Chinese people worked from home for months during the coronavirus outbreak. The boost in demand for Internet services created a soaring workload for already-busy tech workers and some told Bloomberg that the remote working situation resulted in even longer hours than usual, with employees expected to attend back-to-back virtual meetings. – South China Morning Post

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