March 17, 2020 / 9:13 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Saudi central bank implements work-from-home measures for banks

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RIYADH, March 17 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s central bank said it has asked its employees to suspend work in the head office and branches, and implemented work-from-home measures for financial institutions, with the exception of critical positions, amid coronavirus concerns.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said in a statement on Tuesday the decision was in compliance with a government directive to suspend attendance for employees in all government agencies, except for those in health, security and military sectors.

Business continuity plans had been activated, SAMA said, “to ensure that payment system services are not interrupted and that the financial and banking system continues to operate.”

Saudi Arabia on Monday urged its citizens to stay at home, and said it was considering suspending work for the private sector after doing so for the government sector, except health and security.

“Financial institutions have been instructed to reduce the number of employees working in head offices and branches as necessary to maintain business operations, and reduce the number of working branches in order to provide only the necessary services that are not provided through digital channels,” said SAMA.

Saudi Arabia has 133 confirmed coronavirus cases. (Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Writing by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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