March 16, 2020 / 9:05 PM / 3 months ago

At least two suspected coronavirus cases among SEC's Washington staff - filing

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission logo adorns an office door at the SEC headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has had two suspected coronavirus cases among staff at its Washington headquarters, an official said in a court document requesting leniency on delivering physical copies of filings to a judge.

The court filing, dated March 13, was among the latest signs of upheaval caused by the coronavirus outbreak, as cases increase across the United States and globally.

The SEC has been deluged with regulatory enquiries from companies seeking guidance on how to handle coronavirus-related financial disclosures.

The U.S. markets regulator issued a memo encouraging staff to work remotely after an employee was treated for respiratory symptoms and was referred for coronavirus testing, an SEC spokeswoman said previously in a statement.

Most people at the Washington, D.C. headquarters, where a large proportion of its 4,350 staff work, followed the advice and have been teleworking, the agency has said.

“The telework policy means that the SEC does not have personnel on site who can perform the necessary printing and binding of hard copies of court filings, or who can transfer to media (such as CDs) electronic copies of those filings,” David Mendel, assistant chief litigation counsel for the SEC’s enforcement division, said in the filing.

The SEC’s press office did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The Enforcement division and Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations are “fully operational,” the agency said in a statement.

In the March 13 filing, Mendel said he expects the policy to continue “at least for the next few weeks” and that SEC staff has been told the agency’s New York office may soon implement a similar policy.

Reporting and writing by Chris Prentice in Washington and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Dan Grebler

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