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SAP closes Joburg office as COVID-19 spreads in SA

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 11 Mar 2020

German-based enterprise software giant SAP has temporarily closed its Johannesburg office as the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) takes toll in SA.

This as the Health Department today confirmed six new coronavirus cases – bringing the total confirmed cases to 13, with the Western Cape confirming its first case.

“All the patients have now been advised. Those who are symptomatic have started receiving treatment. Some of these patients are already in hospital while some, specifically those who are asymptomatic are in self quarantine,” said the Health Department on Wednesday.

The new confirmed cases exclude the outstanding results for the two patients who formed part of the group of 10 that travelled to Italy, the department adds.

In a statement to ITWeb today, SAP says: “On Sunday, we were notified that two SAP South Africa employees had been in recent contact with the individual now confirmed as the second positive case of COVID-19 virus in South Africa. Both employees are well, but have taken immediate precautions by entering a period of quarantine while awaiting test results.

As a precautionary measure only, SAP took an action to close the SAP Johannesburg office for this week and has carried out extensive disinfection measures, says the company.

“During this time, our Johannesburg based employees are working remotely and conducting all their day to day meetings virtually.

“The health and well-being of our customers, partners, employees and the overall community is our top priority and it is our responsibility as a global organisation to act with caution at these times. It is important to note that while we do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we are working closely with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to follow all required protocols.”

Globally, technology companies like Microsoft, Twitter, Sqaure and Google have also asked employees to work from home amid coronavirus fears.

So far, over 121 000 cases of coronavirus cases have been reported across the globe. Over 4 300 people have so far lost their lives to the pandemic with close to 70 000 being those who have recovered.

In SA, to date, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases has conducted 645 tests.

“More information relating to these cases will be communicated. We also request that the privacy of the patients and the families continues to be observed by the media and members of the public,” said the department.