Coronavirus: London staff sent home at Deloitte after worker tests positive for virus

Chief executive Richard Houston calls incident ‘unsettling’ as tenth floor of main UK office subject to ‘deep cleaning’

Boris Johnson tells public to wash their hands during press conference about coronavirus

Employees at a major accountant firm in central London have been told to work from home after a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to Asia.

Deloitte announced on Tuesday that it was “deep cleaning” one floor of its main UK office in Holborn, where it employs about 20,000 people, following confirmation of the case.

The employee, who has been in self-isolation since 26 February after falling ill on their return from Japan, is currently receiving “good care in hospital”, Richard Houston, chief executive, said in an email.

Mr Houston described the incident as “unsettling” but reassured employees that Deloitte was working with Public Health England on its response.

Staff on the tenth floor, where the infected employee worked, were told to “go home with immediate effect” on Tuesday. The rest of Deloitte’s London campus at 1 New Street Square remains open, though staff have been given the option to work from home if they wish.

Mr Houston also warned “all people working on the London Campus ... to limit non-essential movement between buildings”.

“We have also cancelled or moved all events due to take place in 1NSS tomorrow [Wednesday],” he added.

One member of staff told The Independent: “I’m happy they mounted a quick response and told people from the floor to quarantine themselves.

“I’m not getting too worked up about things. It’s likely multiple people went to the same floor but, what can you do. It’s nobody’s fault.”

A spokesperson said: “Deloitte has been closely monitoring and managing the Covid-19 situation in order to respond as necessary. The health and safety of our people and clients is our top priority.

“We continue to monitor the situation and will adjust our guidance as necessary.”

Deloitte is the second major London employer, after US oil company Chevron, to send workers home due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

This comes as Chris Whitty, England and Wales’ chief medical officer, warned that the UK will probably see a significant number of cases and “some deaths”in the next six weeks

To date, the UK has confirmed 53 infections, with thousands others tested for the pathogen.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in