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UBS splits Hong Kong workforce into teams as COVID-19 cases rise

HONG KONG (CNA) – UBS Group will split its 2,500 Hong Kong workforce into two groups with each returning to the workplace on alternate weeks, as the city tightens curbs amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, according to an internal memo to staff seen by a news agency.

A spokesman for the bank confirmed the contents of the memo that was sent to staff yesterday.

The move comes 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 to reduce the risk of contamination and not to socialise with members not in their own team, according to the memo.

Standard Chartered divided its 6,000 workforce into teams earlier this week.

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

The Swiss bank UBS logo seen in Zurich, Switzerland. PHOTO: CNA