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Three employees of Boston-based Biogen have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. None of the employees live in Massachusetts but all had been at the company’s headquarters last week for a management conference.
Two of the employees came to the United States from the European Union and the other was from Tennessee. According to a company statement, the three employees are doing well and “improving under the care of their healthcare providers.” Because the three employees had attended the conference, Biogen said out of an abundance of caution, those who were in the conference with these individuals have been directed to work from home for the next two weeks, whether they are displaying symptoms or not, MSN reported this morning.
Biogen said following the meeting in Boston last week, several employees began reporting flu-like symptoms. After conferring with physicians, some of the employees were confirmed to have the flu, while the three tested positive for COVID-19.
“Protecting our employees and our communities is our priority. Biogen has been in regular contact with the relevant public health officials since the time the first cases of illness were reported,” Biogen said in its statement. “We are regularly communicating with all employees and directed all employees who are not feeling well to stay home and contact their healthcare provider as necessary. Additionally, we are taking precautionary measures to do our part in mitigating the spread of illness – including restricting travel through the end of March. We continue to closely monitor the situation.”
According to a coronavirus tracker from Johns Hopkins, there have been 100,330 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe, the vast majority being in China. In the United States, there have been 233 confirmed cases and 14 deaths, according to the tracker.
Several companies and organizations have implemented work-from-home policies and travel restrictions due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. On Thursday, Seattle-based Fred Hutch issued a work-from-home policy through the end of March for its Seattle-based employees. Several pharmaceutical companies have also implemented travel bans due to the virus, including GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim, and more. Much of the travel restrictions focus on countries like China, Italy and South Korea, where the virus has been increasing. Sanofi has implemented a work-from-home policy in its Chinese facilities, FiercePharma reported. Harvard University has also implemented a travel ban to countries with a Level 3 Travel Warning from the CDC in response to the virus, the Harvard Crimson reported.