7 June 2024

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s biggest bank DBS (DBSM.SI) evacuated 300 staff from its head office on Wednesday as a precautionary measure following a confirmed coronavirus case at the lender, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Singapore has reported 47 coronavirus cases, one of the highest tallies outside China, including mounting evidence of local transmission. The government has been trying to calm nerves after it raised the virus alert level last week, sparking panic buying of essentials such as rice and toilet paper.

“I regret to inform you that there is one confirmed case of coronavirus at DBS Asia Central on Level 43 today,” Singapore country head, Shee Tse Koon said in the memo.

“As a precautionary measure, all 300 colleagues on Level 43 at MBFC have been evacuated and will work from home for the time being,” Shee said, referring to DBS’ headquarters at the Marina Bay Financial Centre area.

When contacted for a comment, DBS said it would put out a statement shortly. Employees at the bank told Reuters that other floors were unaffected.

Long lines had formed this week to enter some offices in Singapore’s financial district as employers started screening workers for temperature. Warnings by building management of cases in some downtown office buildings have also been widely shared on social media.

Some companies, including DBS, are cancelling physical results briefings and choosing to hold them via teleconference. The government has cautioned people against shaking hands as a form of greeting.

The outbreak has revived memories of the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome which killed over 30 people in Singapore, and nearly 800 worldwide.