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January 28, 2020updated 13 Feb 2020 11:01am

Coronavirus: Bank workers in Hong Kong urged to stay away from office after China visit


Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates


Major banking groups including Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Credit Suisse have asked their bank workers in Hong Kong to work from home if they have recently travelled from China in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Swiss banking group UBS directed its Hong Kong and Singapore staff to work from home if they have visited China in the past 14 days, according to Bloomberg.

Its rival Credit Suisse trod the same path and asked its staff suffering from fever or flu-like symptoms to work from home until they are certified as fit by a doctor.

The bank’s employees have been asked to consult their division manager and human resources before reporting back at the office after 14 days.

Credit Suisse’s Hong Kong office at the International Commerce Center tower will conduct temperature checks in response to the crisis, Bloomberg reported citing an internal memo.

French banking group BNP Paribas also gave a two-week work-at-home directive to employees who have travelled from China in the last two weeks.

UK-based Standard Chartered has imposed travel restrictions on employees’ trips to Hubei province of China, and elsewhere in mainland China and Hong Kong.

At the same time, the bank is encouraging more technology usage and fewer face-to-face meetings apart from a 14-day work-from-home directive for staff returning from Hubei.

US-based investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley implemented work-at-home arrangements and delayed non-essential business travel to China.

Citigroup, another American bank, also adopted a similar approach. The bank directed its staff to report personal travel to Wuhan or the surrounding region and work at home for a 14-day period upon their return.

Germany’s Deutsche Bank has asked its employees in Hong Kong to work at home for a seven-day period upon returning from China.

Coronavirus update 

The novel coronavirus that first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December is said to have a 14-day incubation period. The coronavirus outbreak is said to have killed 107 people and infected 4,474 others so far.

China enforced transport restrictions to different cities, including Wuhan, to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided that the coronavirus outbreak is not at present an international health emergency.

Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

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