UBS, Bank of America order Hong Kong office changes as COVID cases rise By Reuters

2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich, Switzerland October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

2/2

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Banks in Hong Kong are taking steps to lower the number of people at the workplace after operating at near full capacity for the past few months, as the city tightens curbs due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Bank of America (NYSE:) has encouraged its staff to work from home from Jan. 7-24, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. A bank spokesman confirmed the contents of the memo that was sent on Thursday.

Earlier, UBS Group said, also in a memo to staff, that it would split its 2,500 Hong Kong workforce into two groups, with each returning to the workplace on alternate weeks.

The moves come amid worries of a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections in the Asian financial hub. Hong Kong has announced a two-week ban on some inbound flights, slapped curbs on indoor dining and closed swimming pools, bars and other venues.

The city recorded 38 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

UBS staff have been told to minimise “cross floor” travel in the bank’s offices and not to socialise with members not in their own team, according to the memo.

UBS and Bank of America said staff had to wear masks when not at their desks, according to their memos.

Standard Chartered (OTC:) divided its 6,000 workforce into teams earlier this week.

Financial institutions in Hong Kong have been operating at almost full capacity for the past few months, unlike most other major centres like New York or London, as the city stuck to a zero-COVID strategy by largely isolating itself from the world.

On Dec. 31, a streak of three months without community cases ended with the first local transmission of the Omicron variant.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.