In line with recommendations from Austrian authorities, the heads of the four main Vienna-based United Nations organizations, including the IAEA, announced that all personnel at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) have been instructed to work remotely from Monday 16th to Friday 3rd April 2020. Private visitors will also not have access to the VIC until further notice. This is a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Vienna International Centre, where some 5,000 people from around 125 countries work.
Only essential or critical staff will be permitted to work at the VIC, but even they are expected to work from home. These staff have been informed. Non-essential or critical staff will not have access to the VIC during this period and have also been requested to work remotely as of Wednesday 18 March, to ensure business continuity. This reflects the announcement by the Austrian govenrment, which on 13 March asked all businesses to allow telecommuting wherever possible, ordered the closure of school and most shops and curtailed the opening hours of restaurants and other businesses as of 16 March. It also introduced tighter border controls and placed several areas in western Austria under quarantine.
For the latest updates on the evolving situation from Austrian authorities, please see this page.
IAEA operations are expected to continue with minimal disruption under these extraordinary circumstances, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. “I count on your full support to effectively deliver on the core functions of your positions,” Mr Grossi wrote in an email message to all staff. “We have this obligation towards Member States.”
In the meantime, the IAEA is working to support countries to detect COVID-19 using nuclear techniques. Read our article for more details.