Sony Pictures Entertainment has closed offices in London, Paris and Gdynia, Poland, for the rest of this week as a precautionary measure against coronavirus.
The number of cases rose sharply in the UK today, increasing to 85 from yesterday’s figure of 51. This morning, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told BBC Breakfast that the virus was “likely” to become an epidemic in the UK.
A Sony spokesperson told us that one employee from the London office had recently traveled to an area affected by the virus and the office closures were in response; they stressed the company has no diagnosed cases and the move was purely precautionary. All of the company’s other offices across Europe are open and business-as-usual.
“The health and well-being of our employees is of the utmost importance. We thought it was important to share with you that one of our London employees may have been exposed to coronavirus COVID-19 given recent travels to an affected area. Out of an abundance of caution, the London, Paris and Gdynia offices will be closed for the remainder of the week, and employees should work from home,” Sony said in a statement to employees.
Also today, the Italian government said it would close all schools and universities for two weeks as it attempts to stem the spread of the virus; Italy is the worst-affected European nation currently with more than 2,500 cases and 79 deaths. The French government has also shuttered schools in affected areas.
Broadcast was first out with the Sony news.
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