A company's employee was forced to to dress up as a human hand gel dispenser by his bosses as coronavirus spreads across the globe.

The man, an employee of Saudi Arabia's state oil company Saudi Aramco, was pictured at firm's offices wearing the outfit – which was even complete with a face mask.

People were quick to criticise Saudi Aramco online, who said the act took place "without the approval of the company".

Saudi Aramco confirmed it immediately put a stop to the stunt and "taken strict measures to prevent it from happening again".

In a statement, the firm said: "With regard to the images circulated on social media of a colleague wearing a sanitiser bottle inside one of our facilities.

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"Aramco would like to express its strong dissatisfaction towards the behaviour that intended to emphasise the importance of hygiene.

"The company immediately stopped this act and took drastic measures to prevent it from happening again."

Saudi Aramco's statement came after the images were widely criticised online, with social media users condemning the practice as "disgusting" and "humiliating" for the employee.

Others claimed it was "racist", with another Twitter user declaring the worker "must be compensated for this humiliating act".

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Coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic by The World Health Organisation on Wednesday.

WHO has avoided classifying coronavirus as a pandemic since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.

Instead of the word "pandemic" it opted to use the phrase "Public Health Emergency of International Concern", but has broken with its own rules in order to classify the coronavirus.

More than 115,000 people in 14 countries around the world have tested positive for the virus and more than 4,200 patients have died.

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