COVID-19 Measures at the Vienna International Centre

    UNIS/VIC/229
    25 March 2020

    Message from the main Vienna-based United Nations organizations (VBOs)

    VIENNA, 25 March (UN Information Service) - This is an important message from the Vienna International Centre (VIC) Medical Service regarding COVID-19:

    There are now six confirmed COVID-19 cases in the VIC community.

    In addition to the two previously reported cases, there are now three additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving staff members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), one at the VIC and two at Seibersdorf. Furthermore, there is a confirmed case involving a staff member at the UN Office at Vienna (UNOV).

    Here are the details:

    On Tuesday, 24 March, the Austrian authorities confirmed that a person had tested positive for COVID-19, working in the VIC. The person had been working from home for three days prior to the onset of symptoms, and a risk assessment conducted by Austrian authorities and VIC Medical Service has determined that because of the remote working, there is no additional risk of exposure to other personnel. He is under observation in the hospital with mild to moderate symptoms.

    On Wednesday, 25 March, the Austrian authorities confirmed that two people had tested positive for COVID-19, working in Seibersdorf Laboratories. They had been in separate self-quarantine since returning from the same risk area, and a risk assessment conducted by the Austrian authorities and VIC Medical Service has determined that there is no additional risk of exposure to other personnel.

    On Tuesday, 24 March, the authorities confirmed that a UNOV staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. He is doing well at home with mild symptoms. The person had been working from home for nine days. Close contact tracing was conducted by Austrian health authorities and identified two contact persons for observation. A risk assessment conducted by Austrian authorities and VIC Medical Service has determined that due to working from home, there is no risk of exposure to other personnel.

     


    UNIS/VIC/228
    20 March 2020

    Message from the Vienna-based United Nations organizations

    VIENNA, 20 March (UN Information Service) - The following message was sent to all personnel at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) today after Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the measures that began on Monday 16 March to tackle COVID-19 were being extended until Monday 13 April 2020.

    -           All personnel based at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) or elsewhere in Austria are required to adhere to the Austrian Government's extended measures until Monday 13 April 2020. This will be reviewed as necessary.

    -           Stay home unless you are approved to come to the VIC to carry out critical tasks.

    Second positive case at VIC

    This is an important message from the VIC Medical Service regarding COVID-19:

    There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a staff member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the VIC.

    On Friday 20 March, the authorities confirmed that the person had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The person works on the 16th floor of the A building and was last in the VIC on 13 March. He is recovering at home and is under quarantine.

    Close contact tracing has been initiated by authorities, and individuals among VIC personnel are being contacted by authorities with instructions to self-quarantine for 14 days. Close contact is defined as 15 minutes or more face-to-face interaction at a distance of 2 metre or less or direct contact (like a handshake).

    Personnel not contacted by the Austrian authorities are not considered to be at risk.

    We are in contact with the Host Country and we will provide an update to this case if needed.

    World Health Organization and VIC Medical Services advise to continue to adhere to the general respiratory illness prevention measures, notably washing hands and social distancing.

    The first confirmed case, announced on 17 March, involved a cleaner who was already recovering when the case was reported.

     


    UNIS/VIC/227
    18 March 2020

    More than 95 per cent of UN Vienna International Centre's personnel working remotely or at home

    VIENNA, 18 March (UN Information Service) - The UN Security and Safety Service in Vienna reported today that fewer than five per cent of 5,000 personnel are now working at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) to carry out critical tasks. That means more than 95 per cent of colleagues are working remotely or otherwise at home.

    Management at the four main Vienna-based UN organizations is taking measures to reduce still further the presence of personnel in the VIC to the lowest achievable number possible and, in so doing, to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

    Vienna-based UN organizations continue to carry out their important work while dramatically reducing the VIC's footprint. This is contributing to Austria's efforts to flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19.

     


    UNIS/VIC/226
    17 March 2020 

     Vienna International Centre Crisis Management Team COVID-19 update - 17 March 2020

    Influenza case at Vienna International Centre now tested positive as COVID-19

    This is an important message from the Vienna International Centre (VIC) Medical Service regarding COVID-19:

    There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a female member of the cleaning staff at the VIC.

    The cleaner, who is employed by an outside contractor, fell ill at the VIC on 2 March 2020 after office hours and was assisted by three members of the UN Security and Safety team. The cleaner worked on 13 rooms on the 10 th floor of the VIC's B building, which is part of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The relevant staff have been informed. The cleaner has not been in the building since 2 March.

    Austrian health authorities initially diagnosed influenza. Late evening on Monday 16 March, the authorities informed the VIC Medical Service that the person had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The person has been evaluated at a hospital and is recovering.

    The VIC Medical Service assesses the risk to the first responders, who were wearing protective clothing, as zero. None of them has developed any symptoms over the last 14 days. There is no residual risk to personnel at the VIC.

    Close contact tracing has identified no further individuals among VIC personnel.  Close contact is defined as 15 minutes face-to-face interaction at a distance of one metre or less.

    We are in contact with the Host Country and we will provide an update to this case if needed.

    World Health Organization and medical advice is to continue to adhere to the general respiratory illness prevention measures, notably washing hands.

     


     UNIS/VIC/225
    16 March 2020

    Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations

    • The UN Security and Safety Service in Vienna reports that 307 people out of 5,000 personnel came to work today to carry out critical tasks. That means more than 90 per cent of colleagues are working remotely or otherwise at home.
    • All personnel are helping all the Vienna-based organizations (VBOs) to continue to carry out their important work and to dramatically reduce the Vienna International Centre's footprint. This is contributing to Austria's efforts to flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19.
    • Management of the four main VBOs is taking measures to reduce still further the presence of personnel in the VIC to the lowest achievable number possible and, in so doing, to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

     


    UNIS/VIC/224
    15 March 2020

    Joint statement by the main Vienna-based UN organizations

    VIENNA, 15 March (UN Information Service) - The main Vienna-based UN organizations at the Vienna International Centre issued the following urgent COVID-19 message today to all personnel:

    · All personnel based at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) or elsewhere in Austria are required to follow the Austrian Government's latest urgent appeal to stay at home and not to meet anyone from now until Sunday 22 March. This will be reviewed as developments dictate.

    · Management of the four main Vienna-based organizations (VBOs) continue to take measures to reduce still further the presence of personnel in the VIC to the lowest achievable number possible and, in so doing, to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

     


    UNIS/VIC/223
    12 March 2020

    The heads of the four main organizations at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) issued the following statement to all VIC personnel today:

    Joint statement by the Executive Heads of the main Vienna-based organizations

    VIENNA, 12 March (UN Information Service) - Bearing in mind the measures taken by the Austrian authorities and the advice from the Vienna International Centre (VIC) Medical Service, the Executive Heads of the four main Vienna-based Organizations (VBOs) have decided to instruct all personnel to work remotely from Monday 16th to Friday 3rd April 2020.

    Each VBO will be in touch with those not in a position to work remotely.

    Only essential or critical staff, as identified by each VBO, may come to work at the VIC. Non-essential staff and all other visitors will not have access to the VIC during this period.

    This measure will be reviewed prior to 3rd April, taking into account the evolving situation and the recommendations of local authorities.

    The instruction applies only to those based in Austria. Those VBOs with field operations will be in touch with colleagues in those locations.

    The four Executive Heads further instruct all personnel to halt all non-essential duty travel with effect from Monday 16 March 2020. Essential duty travel is subject to approval by the Executive Head of the respective VBO.

    These measures are taken on clear medical advice and with the welfare of staff and their families as the central priority. As part of the community of our Host Country, Austria, we can all play our part in helping to try to contain the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the risk of transmission at the VIC and elsewhere.

     


    UNIS/VIC/222
    11 March 2020

    COVID-19: Measures at the Vienna International Centre

    VIENNA, 11 March (UN Information Service) - The heads of the four main Vienna-based organizations at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) announced a number of measures today to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 to those in the VIC and especially vulnerable groups, notably those over the age of 65 and those with health conditions that place them at greater risk. The health of staff, personnel and visitors in the VIC remains the top priority.

    Among the measures that will affect the general public, the UN Information Service (UNIS) Visitors Service guided tours and lecture programmes are suspended. Private visitors will not have access to the VIC. In principle, meetings and events with more than 100 participants will not be held. The measures take immediate effect and are until further notice.

    The four main Vienna-based organizations are the United Nations Office at Vienna/UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN Industrial Development Organization and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.