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Global Outbreak Strikes Nike, Amazon

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The COVID-19 epidemic has now reached 71 countries—and some of the world’s biggest companies are figuring out how to handle the outbreak’s arrival on their own doorsteps.

Nike Inc. temporarily closed two of its global headquarters after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In a statement to Reuters confirming the infected employee, the athletic gear maker said it plans a “deep cleaning” of its European headquarters in Hilversum, a city in The Netherlands roughly 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam.

The company said the location, where more than 2,000 employees from 80 countries work, will be closed until Wednesday while being disinfected. The Netherlands has confirmed 18 cases of coronavirus, RIVM, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, reported Monday. As many as 200 more people are been screened for the virus.

Nike, which was forced to close about half of its China stores last month, is taking the preemptive step of disinfecting its Beaverton, Ore., headquarters as well. On Sunday, the company told media outlet KGW it would conduct a “deep cleaning” of its Pacific-Northwest campus “out of an abundance of caution.” The state is home to two cases of coronavirus, one confirmed and one presumptive, according to KGW.

Meanwhile, Amazon has quarantined two workers in Italy who have contracted the coronavirus. “We’re supporting the affected employees who were in Milan and are now in quarantine,” an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Sourcing Journal.

At 1,694, the European nation has reported the highest number of cases outside of China, where the outbreak originated in the city of Wuhan at the close of 2019 and accelerated in tandem with the Chinese New Year in late January when many urban workers travel home to celebrate the holiday. Italy has reported at least 29 deaths.

No U.S. employees are known to have the virus at the moment, Amazon noted, though Washington state—where its Seattle headquarters is located—has reported five deaths from the outbreak, and dozens more people there are being tested for the illness.

The outbreak has also taken a toll on Amazon’s supply chain. The company has reportedly been stockpiling Made-in-China inventory as travel restrictions and government shutdowns stranded product inside China. Adding to the chaos, the third-party sellers that have become the lifeblood of the platform’s popular marketplace are facing “an even bigger backlog of orders” than they were bracing for around the expected Lunar New Year slowdown.

Nearly 90,000 people worldwide have confirmed infections of the coronavirus, whose death toll has exceeded 3,000.

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