Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Chevron sends home 300 workers over coronavirus fears

The Canary Wharf office of a US oil company has sent home around 300 British workers after an employee in London reported a flu-like illness.

Chevron Corp yesterday told traders, exploration and refining unit staff to work remotely until test results can determine whether the worker has coronavirus.

It is claimed the employee had recently returned to the UK from a country infected with the deadly bug. 

A spokeswoman said the the firm was taking 'precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure' and is continuing the 'monitor the situation closely'. 

The oil company's office is in Westferry Circus in Canary Wharf, a dense business district also home to banks such as Citi, HSBC and Barclays. 

Around 105,000 people head to work in the area every day.  

The news comes as fears intensify over the spread of coronavirus in Europe as France reported its second death and the number of people in Italy with the virus continues to climb. 


A total of 6,795 people have been tested in the UK with 13 positive cases. 

A spokeswoman for Chevron said: '[We] continue to monitor the situation very closely, utilizing the guidance of international and local health authorities. 

'Our primary concern is the health and safety of our employees and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure. 

'Consequently we have requested that our colleagues, based at our Westferry Circus office in London, work from home for the time being. 

'It is our policy to not provide details of our employees.' 

It comes as thousands of Britons face coronavirus screening amid fears the number of infections on UK soil could 'explode' after a 'worst case' government report predicted 80 per cent of the population could catch it if it takes hold.

The Department of Health is ramping up detection methods so anyone with a severe chest infection at one of 11 NHS hospitals or around 100 GP practices dotted around the country will automatically be tested for the deadly infection – even if they haven't been to an at-risk country.

Until now, members of the public were only tested if they were both ill and had a link to China or another country at the heart of the outbreak in East Asia. Now broader testing will be done to stay a step ahead of the virus.

Screening will be ratcheted up to try to catch the virus on a local scale and avoid a sudden surge in infections, which could only become obvious when it is too late to stop the spread. It comes after an explosion in cases in Italy since Friday has seen more than 350 people diagnosed with the illness and travellers carry it to Austria, Switzerland and Croatia. 


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