Singapore’s outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus has spread to its financial center, with some staff at major companies being told to work from home for at least the next few days and temperature screening checkpoints set up at the front doors of several towers.
A worker at an unnamed firm in Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 was confirmed as being infected with the virus over the weekend, a circular sent to tenants by the building’s manager Raffles Quay Asset Management Pte said.
Another case at nearby Clifford Centre, in the heart of the central business district, is an employee of United Industrial Corp, according to an advisory to tenants in the building where the firm is located.
The affected premises in both buildings have been disinfected and all tenants informed, the property managers said in the notices dated Sunday last week.
Singapore last week raised its disease response level to the same grade used during the SARS epidemic, as it braced for what Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) said was a “major test for our nation.”
There are 43 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Singapore — the largest number of infections outside China, excluding a quarantined cruise ship in Japan.
Of the total, 22 cases are locally transmitted infections, the Singaporean Ministry of Health said.
Six people have recovered and been discharged from hospital, while six are in a critical condition.
Singapore has cautioned residents to avoid shaking hands to contain the spread of the virus. Panic buying had sparked a run on toilet paper, rice and instant noodles in stores.
Government officials warned against hoarding supplies, while the Monetary Authority of Singapore told banks to be prepared for for an increased demand in cash withdrawals.
Standard Chartered PLC is the anchor tenant at Tower 1, leasing the lion’s share of the 33-story building.
The British bank declined to comment on whether the virus case comes from among its employees.
“We have a well-established business continuity plan and implemented a comprehensive set of precautionary measures such as temperature screening, mandatory employee and visitor declarations, and increased the frequency of sanitization at our branches and office premises,” the bank said in an e-mailed reply to queries.
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