US oil giant Chevron (CVX) on Tuesday told around 300 staff based at its London office to work from home amid fears that one of its employees has contracted coronavirus.
The move will raise fears about the spread of coronavirus in the UK, where only 13 people have been affected by the virus thus far.
Chevron’s office in the UK capital is located at Canary Wharf, the bustling and densely populated financial district.
The employee, who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, recently returned from abroad, and has been sent for testing, according to the Financial Times.
“Chevron continues to monitor the situation very closely, utilising the guidance of international and local health authorities,” Chevron said in a statement, noting that it would not provide personal details about the employee.
“Our primary concern is the health and safety of our employees and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure. It is our policy to not provide details of our employees.”
Canary Wharf, London’s second-largest financial district, has a daily working population of 120,000 people.
Five additional European countries on Tuesday reported new coronavirus cases linked to the outbreak in Italy.
Spain, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, and France all reported new infections, while there have been over 320 cases and 10 deaths in Italy, which has become an epicentre of the virus in Europe.
The UK Foreign Office has now warned against all but essential travel to the quarantined towns in the country, and said that anyone returning from those towns must self-isolate.
England’s chief medical officer said that the UK may have to curb travel and consider school closures if the spread of the virus accelerates across Europe.