KWM Sydney shut over suspected COVID-19 case

Staff warned firm they may have contracted the novel coronavirus overseas

KWM Sydney shut over suspected COVID-19 case

King & Wood Mallesons Sydney has been closed over a possible case of COVID-19.

Berkeley Cox, chief executive partner, said in a statement this morning that the Sydney office has at least one suspected novel coronavirus case. The staff member, who is understood to not be a lawyer, warned the firm last night of their concern after overseas travel.

"The health and safety of our people and the community is our first priority and as a precautionary measure, KWM Australia has directed all our people in Sydney to work remotely until further notice,” Cox said.

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The Sino-Australian legal giant hopes to re-open its Sydney offices at Governor Phillip Tower at 1 Farrer Place on Monday, but Cox said that the firm will take appropriate actions as more information is brought to light.

“We are supporting our people and working with our clients to avoid or minimise any disruption to the service we provide during this time,” Cox said.

It is understood that KWM will conduct a thorough industrial cleaning of its Sydney offices before they are re-opened. Affected by the closing of the office are more than 600 lawyers and staff at KWM Sydney.

KWM is the second firm in Sydney to close its offices amid the COVID-19 spread, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Clayton Utz closed its doors in Sydney on Thursday after being informed of the possible novel coronavirus exposure of the wife of a catering staff member. The woman is the granddaughter of a 95-year-old, who contracted the virus at an aged-care facility that led to her death.

After an initial test was negative and the leading firm re-opened its office, a second test on the woman returned positive this Monday. However, NSW Health advised the firm that it did not have to shut its office again.

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