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Singapore braces as Coronavirus cases show up in finance hub

Singapore’s coronavirus outbreak has spread to its financial centre, with some staff at major companies being told to work from home for at least the next few days and temperature screening checkpoints set up at the front doors of several towers.

A worker at an unnamed firm in Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 has been confirmed as being infected with the virus over the weekend, according to a circular to tenants by the building’s manager Raffles Quay Asset Management Pte.

Another case at nearby Clifford Centre, in the heart of the central business district, is an employee of United Industrial Corp, according to an advisory to tenants in the building where UIC is located.

The affected premises in both buildings have been disinfected and all tenants informed, the property managers said in the notices dated Feb. 9.

Singapore last week raised its disease response level to the same grade used during the SARS epidemic, as it braced for what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said was a “major test for our nation.”

There are 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Singapore — the largest number of infections outside China, excluding a quarantined cruise ship in Japan. Of the total, 23 cases are locally transmitted infections, according to the city-state’s health ministry.

Seven people have fully recovered from the infection and been discharged from hospital, while seven are in critical condition.

The city-state has cautioned residents to avoid shaking hands in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. Panic buying had sparked a run on toilet paper, rice and instant noodles in stores, echoing scenes of long lines and bare shelves seen last week in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Government officials warned against hoarding supplies, while the Monetary Authority of Singapore told banks to be prepared for increased demand in cash withdrawals.

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