- HSBC has temporarily shut its main Hong Kong office after three workers tested positive for COVID-19.
- There has been a wave of infections in the city following an outbreak at a local gym.
- In an internal memo seen by Bloomberg, HSBC said the bank can reopen when staff have been tested.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
HSBC closed its main office in Hong Kong until further notice on Tuesday after three people working there tested positive for COVID-19.
The region’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) published a formal notice asking people who spent more than two hours in the building between March 3 and 16 to be tested at a government-approved center by March 19, according to an internal memo HSBC sent to staff on Wednesday seen by Bloomberg.
The new infections followed a COVID-19 outbreak last Thursday at a gym in Sai Ying Pun, which has spread to the region’s financial district.
The CHP said Tuesday it was investigating 18 additional confirmed infections of the virus, taking the total number of cases in Hong Kong to date to 11,340.
The CHP also extended the current social distancing measures until March 31.
“It is our understanding that HMB can return to normal business when virus testing of colleagues and deep cleaning of the facility are complete,” HSBC said in the memo. “The exact timing is yet to be confirmed.”
Around 30,000 HSBC employees now have no access to the lender’s flagship office, located at 1 Queen’s Road Central, in the center of Hong Kong’s business district.
Guards wearing masks, face shields and protective clothing were standing in front of the building’s entrances and a poster stuck on the door told customers to visit another HSBC branch in the local area, Bloomberg reported.
Insider approached HSBC for comment but did not immediately receive a reply.
A spokeswoman from the bank told Bloomberg that HSBC was following advice from health authorities and taking the necessary steps so the building can reopen when it’s safe.
“For banking services, we have well-developed contingency measures that ensure our services and critical processes continue to be maintained,” she said.
Hong Kong, with a population of 7.5 million, has kept coronavirus cases low thanks to strict contact tracing, testing and quarantine measures. There have been 203 deaths in the city, according to the CHP data.
With a total of 292 cases between March 2 to March 15, the latest outbreak is the second largest since a surge in November.