SEC bans employees from Washington office after virus scare

WASHINGTON — Securities and Exchange Commission employees have been told to work remotely for the foreseeable future after a coronavirus scare at the agency's Washington headquarters.

The agency, which oversees the financial markets, said it was informed Monday afternoon that a headquarters employee had received medical treatment for respiratory symptoms earlier in the day.

The employee, who was not identified, was informed by a doctor that they may have been infected with the coronavirus and was referred for testing, the SEC said in a statement.

Among other precautions, the agency "is encouraging headquarters employees to telework until further guidance,” it said.

The SEC is the first major federal agency to employ teleworking in an effort to contain the virus' spread.

It said the scattering of headquarters employees to work from their homes or other remote locations will not affect operations.

"Even with increased telework, the SEC remains able and committed to fully executing its mission on behalf of investors, including monitoring market function and working closely with other regulators and market participants,” said the agency.

The SEC is a leading regulator of financial markets, which have suffered steep declines as the virus has spread around the world.

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