ADB headquarters closed over coronavirus fears

Monitoring Desk

MANILA: The Asian Development Bank closed its headquarters and the Philippines senate went into lockdown on Thursday, after visitors to both buildings in Manila tested positive for the coronavirus.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be tested for the virus as a precaution, his office said, and the parliament building disinfected.

The Asian Development Bank said it will continue to operate as usual and management will make a decision in coming days on when to reopen the office.

“The safety of staff, visitors to the bank, and their families is of utmost importance to us,” ADB official Deborah Stokes said in a statement. “We are providing support to the staff who interacted with the visitor.”

ADB has more than 2,600 full-time staff in Manila.

Among other lawmakers, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade were in self-quarantine after potentially being exposed to an infected guest who attended two public events at different venues last week.

The World Health Organization described the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic for the first time on Wednesday as the number of infections rose to 121,000 in 118 countries, according to a Reuters tally. More than 4,300 people have died.

In the Philippines, 49 people have tested positive for the virus and one has died. The Department of Health said late Wednesday another patient who tested positive died but that it was still validating more information on the reported death.

Officials declared a public health emergency on Monday, and schools and universities across Manila have been closed this week.

The ADB said in an analysis released last week the coronavirus outbreak could slash global growth by 0.1 to 0.4%, with financial losses forecast to reach between $77 billion and $347 billion.

Courtesy: (Reuters)