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IMO closes London HQ over pandemic fears

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) closed its headquarters today as a precautionary measure to the spread of the coronavirus. IMO staff are working from home where possible.

The IMO said in a statement that it had decided to close its London HQ following yesterday’s decision by another United Nations body, the World Health Organization (WHO), to label the coronavirus as a pandemic.

A number of IMO meetings have been cancelled and there is a strong likelihood that the important gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), due later this month, will now be postponed. The MEPC meeting was due to discuss urgent short-term measures to cut shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK is expected to follow Italy and Denmark in issuing a widespread quarantine shortly.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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