HSBC Evacuates Floor at London HQ After Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

March 5, 2020 Updated: March 5, 2020

HSBC management has evacuated the tenth floor of its London headquarters and ordered thorough sanitation on Thursday morning after one of its employees tested positive for coronavirus.

The bank’s management has told about 100 employees stationed on its tenth floor research department to work from home.

The infected employee is currently being monitored under quarantine.

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the United States, emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

In a statement, HSBC said: “We have been informed that one of our employees at 8 Canada Square has been diagnosed with Covid-19. This colleague is under medical supervision and has self-isolated. We are working closely with the health authorities,” Financial News reported first.

“We are deep-cleaning the floor where our colleague worked and shared areas of the building. Colleagues on that floor, and others who came into contact with him, have been advised to work at home. Based on medical and official advice the building remains open and operates as normal. Our first priority and concern is the health of our employees and customers – and we are encouraging our colleagues to monitor their health carefully, and stay at home or call a doctor if they feel unwell.”

According to a source familiar with the situation, another 20 people who worked at the company’s global banking division on the second floor were also sent home after another employee developed coronavirus symptoms, The Guardian reported.

A logo of HSBC
A logo of HSBC is displayed outside a branch at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

In January, HSBC had also banned all staff travel to Chinese-ruled Hong Kong for two weeks and to mainland China until further notice, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The British-based lender, which has the largest presence among foreign banks in China, also asked staff who have recently visited the country to undergo a self-imposed quarantine.

“We are asking those who have traveled to mainland China or been in contact with anyone who has traveled to or through Hubei Province in the last 14 days to stay home for a period of 14 calendar days,” a spokeswoman for the bank said at the time.

Reuters contributed to this report.