The majority of Google's 8,000 staff and contractors in Ireland have been told to work from home tomorrow after a member of staff reported flu-like symptoms.

While it is thought unlikely that the worker has the coronavirus, it is understood that the company decided to use the opportunity to test its capacity to have all staff work remotely in case the situation surrounding Covid-19 escalates.

"We continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, and as part of that effort we have asked our Dublin teams to work from home tomorrow," a Google spokesperson said.

The decision affects most of Google's offices in Ireland, but not its data centre or its offices in EastPoint or Sandyford.

The drill is part of the firm's preparations for operational readiness and to ensure it is able to perform at full capacity in case of an extended period of disruption caused by Covid-19.

This is not the first Google office around the world to close for a day or more as a result of the coronavirus situation.

Company sources said it has been doing this for some time now as it prioritises worker safety and manages a dynamic situation.

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RTÉ News understands the decision followed a request to a number of staff to leave Google today.

The staff were asked to go home after it was feared they may have been in close contact with the person presenting with flu-like symptoms. Such a request would be in line with official advice from health authorities.

Sources in Google have told RTÉ News that business will return to normal on Wednesday regardless of whether the suspected case of the virus is confirmed or not.

In Zurich, where one Google worker has contracted the virus, the offices are operating as normal.

Additional reporting Fran McNulty