By Krystal Hu and Elizabeth Dilts Marshall
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N> canceled its annual partners meeting scheduled for this week because travel restrictions resulting from the deadly coronavirus outbreak prevented some Asia-based employees from making it to the bank’s New York headquarters, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Goldman’s global partners meeting, an annual week-long event for the firm’s roughly 400 most elite employees, was canceled late last week, the people said.
Chief Executive Officer David Solomon will instead host a townhall meeting for about 250 of the partners able to attend in New York, one of the people said.
The flu-like coronavirus has interrupted global business and trade as airline companies worldwide have suspended flights to parts of China, and the U.S. on Friday said it was barring entry to foreign nationals who have recently visited China.
The death toll in China, where the virus first emerged in December, rose to 361 as of Sunday, and there were more than 17,200 cases confirmed in 23 countries worldwide, authorities said.
(GRAPHIC – Tracking the novel coronavirus: https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-MAP/0100B59S39E/index.html)
The World Health Organization has called the virus a global health emergency, but its director general also called travel bans that interrupt international trade and travel “unnecessary.”
Goldman Sachs is attempting to continue to hold some events for the group, which represents about two-thirds of the firm’s overall 400-or-so partners, one of the people said.
In addition to the townhall, there will be a handful of dinners and other meetings held this week, the person added.
For a graphic comparing the newly identified coronavirus to the other outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), such as in 2003, see this graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2GK6YVK
(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall, Editing by Franklin Paul)