London law firm on coronavirus lockdown with 1,100 workers sent home

THE London office of a US law firm is on lockdown today over coronavirus fears with more than 1,000 staff sent home.

Baker McKenzie told workers to stay away after an employee fell ill returning from a holiday in northern Italy.

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Coronavirus is causing havoc in the region with 17 people dead and around 50,000 residents in 11 towns under lockdown and unable to leave a cordoned section of the country before March 6.

Baker McKenzie plans to update its staff, based in the heart of London's financial district, on Sunday about whether they can return to the office.

It comes after two other firms shut down their offices in the capital on Wednesday –  with hundreds of staff told work from home over suspected coronavirus.

Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients and we have asked our London office employees to work from home.

According to a person within the firm, meetings and conferences are taking place using video and teleconferencing.

A spokesperson said: "Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients and we have asked our London office employees to work from home for the time being while we are taking precautionary measures in response to a potential case of the Covid-19."

They added: “We continue to closely monitor the situation and are following the advice and guidance issued by the government and Public Health England.”


It comes just two days after oil giant Chevron locked down its Canary Wharf office, sending hundreds of staff home, after an employee returned from a foreign trip with flu-like symptoms.

The firm was put on red alert after the worker reported sick following a trip to a country infected with coronavirus.

A spokesperson said the company was taking "precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure".

While Media firm OMD, based in central London, shut its office and told around 1,000 staff to work from home after an employee returned from a trip to Australia via Singapore.

A spokesperson said: “As a precautionary measure, and until definitive results of the employee’s coronavirus test is confirmed, we are asking OMD employees at our Fitzrovia offices to immediately work from home.”

Boris Johnson is set to chair a COBRA meeting on coronavirus on Monday morning.

The PM has called the top-level security briefing in response to the deadly bug sweeping across Europe.

A No10 source told ITV there is a “need for the PM to make sure everything that can be done is being done”.

More than 80,000 people in almost 50 countries have been infected by the killer bug, which has killed around 2,800 victims, the vast majority in China's Hubei province.

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