Friday 28 February 2020 2:24 pm

Coronavirus: Baker McKenzie clears out London HQ as staff member who went to Italy falls sick

Law firm Baker McKenzie has ordered all 1,100 staff in its London office to work from home today after fears a member of staff may have contracted the coronavirus.

Baker McKenzie told employees to work remotely after the staff member came back from northern Italy, which has seen a spike of hundreds of coronavirus cases this week.

The worker later felt unwell.

Read more: Coronavirus: Chevron tells Canary Wharf staff to work remotely

“Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients and we have asked our London office employees to work from home for the time being while we are taking precautionary measures in response to a potential case of the Covid-19,” a Baker McKenzie spokesperson said.

“We have a well-established agile working programme – including technology and IT systems for home working – which allows us to take these precautionary measures without impacting our client service delivery,” they added.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation and are following the advice and guidance issued by the government and Public Health England.”

City A.M. understands the affected Baker McKenzie employee had been on annual leave before their return earlier this week. 

Read more: FTSE 100 suffers worst week since 2008 as coronavirus fears grip global markets

They worked from home for two days before returning to the Baker McKenzie office on New Bridge Street for two days, then began to feel unwell.

Baker McKenzie is understood not to have a timeline for staff to be able to return to the office. While staff work from home Baker McKenzie will undertake a deep clean of its London HQ.

The law firm will update employees on Sunday evening if the affected worker has had their coronavirus test results back, City A.M. understands.

Read more: UK suffers first coronavirus death as Diamond Princess passenger dies

A spokesperson declined to comment on how long the office could be closed if the staff member is diagnosed with coronavirus.

Baker McKenzie is the first known law firm to have cleared out its London office over coronavirus fears.

Earlier this week energy giant Chevron sent 300 workers home after a member of staff exhibited coronavirus symptoms.

It came as the UK suffered its first coronavirus death after a Brit aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship died today.

Their identity has not yet been confirmed by Japan’s health ministry. The UK”s confirmed number of coronavirus cases rose to 19 today.