London’s Canary Wharf in coronavirus panic: HSBC offices evacuated – case CONFIRMED

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London’s Canary Wharf in coronavirus panic: HSBC offices evacuated – case CONFIRMED

A member of staff in the UK banking giant’s research department tested positive for coronavirus, with people from that section of the business sent home. HSBC has told staff who came into contact with the employee to work from home as areas affected undergo a thorough clean. A spokeswoman 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.

“All staff whose roles allow remote working have been told they can work from home if preferred,”

The bank added in a statement: “This colleague is under medical supervision and has self-isolated. We are working closely with the health authorities. 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.”

HSBC’s office in London in the the centre of the busy Canary Wharf financial district, which hosts a number of global investment banks including Citi, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Barclays.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has surged to 90.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Thursday Britain is moving into the second of four phases in its battle plan against the deadly disease.

He said: “The original plan was very much predicated on the idea of ‘if it could be controlled in China and contained everywhere else, this virus might go away’.

“I think the chances of that happening are now very slim. Slim to zero.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus LIVE: UK outbreak moves to second phase of emergency plan

He said there would not be a “step move” from the contain phase to the delay phase but “we are putting greater and greater priority on the elements of this which are delay”.

The delay phase means measures to tackle coronavirus are ramped up to delay its spread.

The Government published its battle plan earlier this week, which says of the delay phase: “Action that would be considered could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large-scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population, while ensuring the country’s ability to continue to run as normally as possible.”

Professor Whitty said the delay phase is aimed at pushing back the peak of the epidemic, which could move the peak of cases away from the “winter pressures on the NHS in all four nations of the UK”.

This would also allow more time for research to take place into the nature of coronavirus.

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England’s Chief Medical Officer said: “For the early stages of delay, contain and delay are very similar, not quite the same.

“They are largely around finding early cases, isolating them, following their chains of transmission, where necessary isolating those people

Professor Whitty also told MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee it is now “highly likely” there is “community transmission” of coronavirus in the UK.

He added: “I’m expecting the number only to go up, and there are now several – not large numbers – but several cases where we cannot see where this has come from in terms of a clear transmission, either because someone has come directly from overseas or because they’ve had a close contact with someone who has recently returned from overseas.

“That I think makes it highly likely therefore that there is some level of community transmission of this virus in the UK now.

“I think we should work on the assumption it is here, on very low levels, at this point in time – but that I think should be the working assumption on which we go forward from this point onwards.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer said it would be “lucky” to get a vaccine for coronavirus within the next 12 months.

He said: “I think – a year would be lucky to get this – so we will not have a vaccine available for the first wave if we have a first wave.

“Important to develop because it may then become important if this continues to circulate in society, which I think there is a high chance it will, but I think we need to be realistic.”


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