Dubai: A number of banks and financial institutions in the UAE have issued internal memos to their employees regarding precautions to be taken in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.
Many banks have restricted internal meetings, trainings, client meetings and travel within and outside the country to protect their employees and clients from potential risk of exposure to the virus.
Although many banks acknowledged, internal memos to the employees on the precautions they need to take regarding the meetings, banks’ spokespersons did not divulge the details of these.
A few internal mails from banks to their employees saw by Gulf News have specific instructions to employees on travel with in the country and abroad and internal and external meetings and client meetings.
Bank such as Emirates NBD, Mashreq, RAKBank and Emirates Islamic Bank have issued caution memos to their employees regarding standard measures they need to take to protect themselves from exposure to virus.
Employees across many banks are advised to avoid external travel both within the region and outside if not for some emergency situation.
A leading local bank has imposed severe restrictions on both official and personal travel. While most official travels stand cancelled, the bank has advised the employees travelling on emergencies to declare the itinerary to their line managers and the human resources department.
In cases where employees who have travelled to countries impacted by coronavirus outbreak, some banks have advised employees to take mandatory medical checkups and remain home for two weeks after their return, if they have symptoms such as fever, cough and breathing difficulties before resuming work.
Most banks have reduced client meetings. There have been many cancellations due to travel restrictions. “We are fully aware of the difficulties this might cause to our valuable clients and employees. However, we need to take all possible measures to protect our employees and clients,” said the retail banking head of a local banks.
Many foreign banks, financial institutions and law firms operating in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) have also confirmed that they have substantially cut down on travels and client meetings in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.
All internal training programmes of a leading local bank stands cancelled until further notice. “We have many external trainers in our faculty. In addition, we do not want large gatherings within the bank at a time when we are facing such an unprecedented health risk,” said the human resource head of the bank.
Celebrations & gatherings
A few banks have also advised employees against organizing large gatherings of employees. In addition, some have even gone to the extent of detailed advise on the use of canteens and eateries within the banks’ premises.
“All cafeterias, restaurants and coffee shops within our premises will now offer only take away services rather than sit down meals. Please co-operate with these special measures,” reads an internal memo by a bank to its employees.
Family, relatives and visitors
Some banks have also advised their employees to report the recent travel itinerary of their family members and visiting relatives and friends to the HR department, if they have travelled to one of the high risk countries as outlined by the World Health Organisation and Dubai Health Authority.