Feb 12, 2020 05:51 PM

300 Evacuated From DBS Office in Singapore After Coronavirus Case Confirmed

Photo: The Straits Times
Photo: The Straits Times

(The Straits Times) — About 300 DBS employees vacated their office at Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore on Wednesday, after an employee was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus.

An email seen by The Straits Times said that there was a confirmed case at the DBS Asia Central office on the 43rd story of Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) Tower 3.

A DBS spokesman said the employee was tested on Tuesday and the bank was informed of the confirmation on Wednesday morning. 

The 300 members of staff working on the same floor vacated the premises by noon as a precautionary measure and have been told to work from home for the time being. A DBS staff member who works on the 13th floor said he has not heard about whether other floors have been evacuated like level 43 yet, as most of the departments have their own split operations protocol.

Contact tracing is currently being conducted with all employees and others the infected employee may have come into contact with.

The affected office premises, including common areas like lift lobbies and toilets, are also being deep cleaned and disinfected in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines.

"The health and well-being of our staff are a top priority for us, and we will lend them every support to get through these uncertain times," said the spokesman.

From next week, all employees will receive a personal hygiene and protection care pack including masks, a thermometer, hand sanitiser and vitamin C.

Webinars for medical health professionals to update employees on the latest coronavirus developments and to answer medical-related concerns will also be rolled out.

A medical helpline and access to virtual doctors are already in place.

In response to Singapore's disease outbreak response being moved to orange last Friday, DBS said that all its office buildings had put in place temperature screening and visitors are required to sign a health and travel history declaration form prior to entering its premises.

Hand sanitisers are available on every floor, and front-line staff have been given face masks.

Some employees are also working from home or split sites as part of the company's business continuity plans.

The same internal email said that on Sunday, a confirmed case had also been detected at MBFC Tower 1.

The Straits Times has contacted MBFC for more information.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Singapore is currently at 47 as of Tuesday's update from the Ministry of Health. It is unclear if the DBS employee is a new case or part of the 47 already announced.

Singapore raised its disease outbreak response level to orange last Friday as the coronavirus spread further within the country, with more new cases of unknown origin found.

Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition, orange is one step below red, which signifies an out-of-control pandemic. At orange, the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact, but the situation is still under control.

Business continuity plans have kicked in for some companies, and office buildings have begun temperature screening of workers and visitors.

This story was first published in the Straits Times.

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