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German lender Deutsche Bank (DB) will spread its Frankfurt-based trading and sales teams across different buildings after a worker in Frankfurt tested positive for coronavirus.
The bank said less than 100 staff in Germany’s financial hub would be affected by its action to spread out employees, and that it was sending some workers to a recovery site until the end of the month as a precaution. Others may be asked to work from home.
“All employees who have had contact with the affected colleague were informed directly, and we will undertake deep cleaning on floors N1 and N2 and other areas in DBC,” Deutsche told staff in an internal memo.
The European Central Bank also confirmed its first coronavirus case in Frankfurt office on Monday evening. The ECB said that about 100 colleagues who had been in proximity to the infected staff member would now work from home, and that the bank was deep cleaning the relevant office.
The ECB had asked its 3,500-plus Frankfurt-based staff to work from home on Monday as practice for coronavirus forcing a temporary office shutdown.
Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases have now surged past 1,100 with the first death in the country reported on Monday.
Germany’s economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday that the government would discuss extra fiscal stimulus to protect the economy, in addition to the €12.4bn (£10.74bn, $14.1bn) investment package that it agreed on Sunday.
Altmaier said that the most important thing now was slowing the spread of the virus. "The slower it spreads, the greater the chance that we will prevent a recession in the second half of the year," he said.
"Tackling this crisis takes precedence over many other economic, social, societal issues,” he added, noting that the government wants to “prevent the coronavirus from infecting the economy.”
Berlin is poised to offer financial support to companies that have had to suspend work temporarily because of the virus, with finance minister Olaf Scholz saying on Monday that the government was ready to do “everything necessary” to stabilise the economy and secure jobs.
At a press conference on Monday in Berlin, German health minister Jens Spahn recommended the cancellation of all events of 1,000 or more people.
“We have to reckon with the fact that we are facing an epidemic,” said Christian Drosten, director of the Institute for Virology at the Charité hospital in Berlin. “It is an absolutely serious situation, and we don't have much time to prepare for it.”