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World Bank in Washington reports first two coronavirus cases - memo to staff

Reuters | Updated: 19-03-2020 00:24 IST | Created: 19-03-2020 00:24 IST
World Bank in Washington reports first two coronavirus cases - memo to staff

Two Washington employees of the World Bank Group have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading coronavirus, President David Malpass on Wednesday told staff in a memo obtained by Reuters.

Malpass said the diagnoses marked the first cases at the World Bank and its sister organizations, but further cases could be diagnosed in the coming days and weeks. The Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Friday advised their headquarters staff and contractors to work from home after an IMF employee was infected. The neighboring institutions have about 19,000 employees and contractors combined.

The World Bank Group and the IMF are at the forefront of a global effort to deal with sudden economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Malpass said the Bank would do everything possible to ensure the safety of the staff, while respecting the privacy and confidentiality of those who may be affected.

He said the first person diagnosed with the disease was being cared for by family at home. The person was last at the Bank on March 6, and was asymptomatic at the time. The person only had contact with one other person, who was notified and is monitoring for symptoms. Health authorities had determined no further investigation was needed and there was "no identifiable risk" to other World Bank staff, Malpass said.

The second case had just been revealed and the bank was still establishing the details, Malpass said.


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