The International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group today advised their Washington headquarters staff to work from home. This comes after diagnosing an IMF employee with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
An IMF spokesman said the global-crisis lending institution "remains fully operational and stands ready to serve its members" despite a suspension of mission travel to European and other countries designated as high risk for community spread by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The advisories, which are not mandatory, affect about 2,000 IMF headquarters staff and about 16,000 Washington-based World Bank and International Finance Corp employees and outside consultants.
The neighboring institutions are also based in downtown Washington near the White House.
The IMF staff member diagnosed with COVID-19 is self-isolating and is receiving appropriate medical care, the IMF spokesman said, adding: "We are working with local public health authorities to identify the staff member's close contacts and those who may have been affected."
No World Bank Group staff or consultants tested positive for the coronavirus. Besides, the multilateral development lender remains fully operational, a bank spokesman said.
This also doesn't ban essential IMF travel to the high-risk areas identified by CDC. This now include 29 European countries and principalities, China, Iran and South Korea, the IMF spokesman said.
Both IMF and World Bank earlier this week tested the ability of thousands of their staff members to work remotely.
The spread of the coronavirus has already prompted them to host their spring meetings next month by video conference.