Beijing time on the morning of March 25, according tomedia reports, at the headquarters of SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, at least one employee and an outside medical staff have been confirmed infected with the new coronavirus, some employees have been isolated. According to an internal letter providing the information, the employee tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip abroad. All employees who are known to have close contact with the employee have been sent home for 14 days.
The letter also confirmed that One Medical, an agency that provides on-site medical services at the company’s headquarters, had tested positive for the virus by one of its staff members. The staff member was immediately returned home for isolation and did not contact any patients after diagnosis. Twelve SpaceX employees who had contact with the staff three days ago were also sent home for quarantine.
SpaceX told employees who were asked to return home to stay at home for 14 days and check for symptoms of the new coronavirus at any time. One Medical also told its medical staff in the Los Angeles area, including near SpaceX’s headquarters, to stay at home and immediately test for the virus if they have any symptoms.
“One Medical proactively contacted SpaceX employees who may have been in contact with a confirmed patient,” the medical team wrote in an email, “and our clinical medical team recommends that these employees self-isolate and keep a close eye on the presence of symptoms associated with the new coronavirus.” “
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The outbreak may also further affect Elon Musk’s space program. The SAOCOM 1B Earth observation satellite in Argentina, which was scheduled to launch on 30 March, will be postponed indefinitely because of the outbreak.
Space defense companies like SpaceX are considered “critical infrastructure” businesses. Their launch missions and technologies are related to national security, the operation of GPS, and so on. As a result, employees have no choice but to work as usual, even at a particular time like this, if the health condition permits. While it cannot work remotely, SpaceX has also adjusted its operations to protect its employees.
The company is also taking other steps to protect other nervous employees, employees and their families say. For example, for employees a limited number of masks and gloves and other personal protective equipment, expand the distance between dining locations, require employees to use disposable tableware and so on. The company also plans to buy more thermometers to test employees’ health and produce its own hand sanitizer.