Over 2,000 Saipem employees now working from home in Italy on coronavirus fears

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Saipem, in concert with employer and worker organisations, has been forced to act immediately to ensure the maximum safety of its employees, customers and suppliers, in compliance with the initial indications issued by Italy’s Ministry of Health and regional governments regarding the spread of the coronavirus in parts of the country.

ABC reports empty shelves and abandoned streets in the epicentre of the Italian outbreak, the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto, in the country’s north. Italian authorities have set up roadblocks, called off football matches, cancelled the last two days of the Venice Carnival and shuttered sites including the famed La Scala opera house in Milan.

Saipem, in an update on Tuesday, said since Friday February 21, all employees with fixed domicile or residence in the municipalities identified by the Regional governments involved in the areas where the infection broke out have been asked to stay at home.

“Ever attentive to the well-being of its staff, who represent an invaluable asset of skills and knowledge, Saipem is in constant and direct contact with said colleagues through the company’s Workplace Health and Medicine facility to provide them with timely indications and the best possible assistance,” the company said.

With the aim of further minimizing collective socio-health risks, Saipem announced its decision to reduce the on-the-job presence of its employees in San Donato Milanese and Marghera.

“Consequently, effective from this evening (February 25), 2,196 colleagues will work from home, carrying out their duties remotely (so- called “smart working”). However, given the peculiar nature of the management of projects for large-sized customers carried out by the company the world over, in order to ensure adequate and unaltered business continuity it is necessary, for the moment, to maintain the presence of a number of resources at certain locations,” the company stated.

Several European countries have since announced their first coronavirus cases, all apparently linked to the growing outbreak in Italy.

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland said the cases involved people who had been to Italy, as did Algeria in Africa.

According to a BBC report on Wednesday, the first positive virus test has also been recorded in Latin America – a Brazilian resident who recently returned from Italy.

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