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COVID-19 updates: Vienna-Based UN Organizations

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The rate of increase in COVID-19 cases in Austria has flattened, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told reporters in a televised briefing on 3 April. Three weeks ago, the number of cases was doubling every 2.4 days, he said. Two weeks ago, it was every four days. Now it is every eight days. A measure of stability is achieved when the doubling of cases is every 14 days. The aim is to ensure the hospitals can handle the case load. Anschober said the measures were obviously beginning to take effect and Austria was heading in the right direction. It was important to keep going.

As of 08:00 on 6 April 2020:

  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases: 12,008
  • Number of people who have died: 204
  • Number of people who have recovered: 2,998
  • Number of tests performed: 108,416
  • All VIC personnel must comply with the new Austrian regulation on face masks worn in grocery stores and drugstores. Face masks must be worn in supermarkets, once the masks have been delivered. They are compulsory from Monday 6 April.
  • The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community remains 10.
  • The government hopes to be able to give some indication within a week on what would happen to the announced measures after Easter.

A reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    • 1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    • 2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    • 3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    • 4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running, cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.
  • These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April but will be extended. 

Read more in the daily VBO updates by scrolling to the bottom of the page.


Advice from the VIC Medical Service

  • If you have travelled during the last 14 days to one of the affected countries, then call the Austrian COVID-19 hotline: 1450.
  • If you have not travelled and are still worried call your GP or 1450.
  • If the symptoms are mild and you would be considered a suspected case, then 1450 will inform the Aerztefunkdienst, the mobile doctor service, and you will be tested at your home. Results are back normally within 24 hours, sometimes earlier.
  • You can also contact Medical Service which is able to assist with the assessment for any suspected case and can facilitate the process with the Austrian health line 1450.

If you are tested positive for COVID-19 you will be monitored and asked to stay in home quarantine by the Austrian authorities. Most of the time (more than 80 percent of cases) the illness will be a mild disease (flu-like, common cold-like illness).

Your family members have a potential chance to be infected during your 14-day home quarantine. The principles of avoiding close contact still apply at home. If possible, you should have your own room to separate you physically from the rest of the family. If that is not possible direct or close contact should be avoided, in line with the general respiratory illness prevention measures. This procedure would apply if a family member tests positive rather than you.

In case of any severe illness you call 144 and the emergency ambulance service will attend to you.

You must notify the VIC Medical Service about the positive test result. This will allow the Medical Service to monitor and assist with any questions regarding healthcare matters.

Insights on how to get the support you need

Around the world, social distancing, quarantine or isolation measures are part of the global effort to slow COVID 19’s spread. But cutting regular social contact and interrupting daily routines, combined with the stress of family and work responsibilities and the exposure to worrying news, can take a toll on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

What to Expect

During a period of social distancing, quarantine or isolation, you or your family members may experience:

  • Fear and anxiety: Feeling anxious or worried about contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others, having concerns about obtaining food and personal supplies, taking time off work or fulfilling family care obligations.
  • Lack of energy and sadness: Interrupting your daily routine may result in feelings of sadness, apathy or boredom.
  • Anger, frustration or irritability: Loss of personal freedom can be frustrating. You may also experience anger or resentment leading you to get easily upset with those close to you.
  • Stigmatization: If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you may feel stigmatized by others.

How to Cope Better

It is important to recognize these emotions and to know that there are tools to help you cope better in this difficult situation.

Limit news consumption to reliable sources

It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19. Trusted organizations—including the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control are ideal sources of information on the virus. Remember that too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Psychologists recommend balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities unrelated to quarantine or isolation, such as reading, listening to music or learning a new language.

Create and follow a daily routine

Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely. Integrate other healthy pastimes as needed.

Stay virtually connected with others

Your face-to-face interactions may be limited, but psychologists suggest using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle seek professional support when needed

Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stresses of isolation and quarantine. If needed, consider telehealth options for psychotherapy. If you already have a psychologist, contact her or him to see if they can continue your sessions online.

Use psychological strategies to manage stress and stay positive

Aim to make a realistic assessment of your concerns and your ability to cope. Accept that there are things beyond your control, which cannot be changed, and focus on the positive elements in your life and the things you can do. One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. You may also choose to download smartphone applications and online videos that deliver mindfulness and relaxation exercises(see for example20 Minute Connection Practice and Guided Meditation) and coping and resilience resources such as exercises for deep breathing, positive imagery, muscle relaxation and more.

https://www.headspace.com/covid-19 offers an excellent compilation of resources on meditation, stress management and other coping techniques for individuals, managers and children.

Focusing on the altruistic reasons for social distancing, quarantine or isolation can also help mitigate psychological distress. Remember that by following these measures, you and your family are protecting yourselves and your community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

Helping your children cope with stress

Keep in mind that children may experience stress in different ways, such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc. It is important to listen to their concerns and reassure them, providing age-appropriate factual information about the situation and the protective measures that should be followed. Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.

Adapted from:

www.apa.org;

www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/social-distancing

www.who.int

Other helpful resources:

https://www.mindful.org/connection-practice-remedy-feelings-isolation/

www.mindful.org/category/meditation/guided-meditation/

For people who have seasonal allergies, springtime this year coincides with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Because both conditions affect the respiratory tract, it is understandable that a person who has seasonal allergies would get anxious this year. Keep in mind that the main difference between both conditions is that seasonal allergies generally don’t cause fever or gastro-intestinal symptoms, and they respond to treatment with an antihistamine or similar medications.

Below are some tips to help distinguish the two conditions:

Symptom Covid-19 Allergy
Fever Yes No
Chills Yes No
Body aches Yes No
Shortness of breath Yes Rarely (asthma, bronchitis)
Fatigue Yes Generally no
Cough Yes (dry, persistent) Yes (dry/productive)
Sore/itchy throat Yes Yes
Sneezing Rarely Yes
Running nose Yes, sometimes Yes, commonly
Congested nose Yes Yes, very much so
Red eye Yes - rarely, not itchy Yes common, itchy
Headache Yes Yes, sometimes
Nausea and Vomiting Yes No
Diarrhoea yes No

If you suffer from seasonal allergies and you are not sure whether your symptoms are due to one or the other condition, please contact your doctor or the VIC Medical Service for assistance.



 

Guidance from Austria's Federal Criminal Police Office

The Host Country authorities advise VIC personnel to be vigilant and exercise caution in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly for persons falsely impersonating police or other first responders and asking for the location of money or other valuables in the apartment. In such cases, police should be contacted immediately.

Updates from the main Vienna Based Organizations ​​in the VIC

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – Three weeks in, stay connected and reach out for help; advice from VIC’s medical chief
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – President Van der Bellen urges Austrians and all those who live in our Host Country to persevere in the fight against COVID-19
  • Advice on distinguishing between allergy and COVID-19 symptoms

For previous updates and messages, and useful links including to information in English, visit and bookmark this site. (Note: no log-in is needed):

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs) UNOV/UNODC – IAEA – UNIDO – CTBTO

As we end the third week working remotely or remaining at home, let’s stay connected with each other, check on colleagues and reach out if we need help. See the video message from the Chief Medical Advisor of the Vienna International Centre (VIC) Medical Service, Dr. Matthias Lademann on the VBO COVID-19 site.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Updates:

  • Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen gave a televised address on Thursday evening. “At some point we will look back on this strange, painful, unreal spring 2020. And we will know: it has passed,” he said. “And we may be able to better appreciate how valuable and important we are to each other.” He said people would need to persevere for longer for the sake of those most vulnerable in our Host Country and get used to the new normal. “Dear Austrians, and everyone who lives here, I want to be honest with you: I don't know how long it will take for this crisis to be overcome. And I don't know how bad it will get. Nobody can say for sure at the moment.” But he said there was one certainty; it would pass. Here is a link to the text and video of his address (in German; if an English version is made available it will be shared):
  • Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler told reporters in a televised briefing on Friday that when the economic restrictions were relaxed it would be phased. For example, shops were likely to be able reopen before sports events were allowed again. He said details on what he called a “slow start-up” would start to be announced from next week. The aim was to protect the most vulnerable.
  • The Austrian authorities reported as of 1600 today 11,412 people had tested positive with COVID-19 in Austria. The number of people who have recovered is 1,749. The death toll stands at 168. There have been 98,343 tests.
  • The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community is 10.
  • The number of VIC personnel working remotely or otherwise at home now routinely exceeds 97 percent. UN Security personnel are now wearing face masks at the VIC, in line with Austrian police rules.
  • There is a dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated frequently.

A reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running, cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.

These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April but will be extended.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced three new measures on Monday:

  1. More protection for vulnerable groups; for example, they will not have to go to work if they can work from home or they can be placed on leave.
  2. Ensuring better compliance with the measures – police will be more stringent. There have already been more than 10,000 police reports on violations, including 2,000 just last weekend. Police will not hesitate to fine people if they do not comply.
  3. Face masks must be worn in supermarkets, once the masks have been delivered. They are compulsory from Monday 6 April.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”

VIC MEDICAL SERVICE ADVICE – ON ALLERGY VS COVID-19:

Is it allergy or is it COVID-19?

For people who have seasonal allergies, springtime this year coincides with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Because both conditions affect the respiratory tract, it is understandable that a person who has seasonal allergies would get anxious this year. Keep in mind that the main difference between both conditions is that seasonal allergies generally don’t cause fever or gastro-intestinal symptoms, and they respond to treatment with an antihistamine or similar medications.

Follow the link to the VBO COVID-19 site and scroll down to the VIC Medical Service section to find advice to help distinguish the two conditions.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL:

FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS:Please write to Martin Nesirky.

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – reminder on face masks regulation
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – Health Minister says rate of increase in COVID-19 cases beginning to flatten but Austria needs to keep going with measures, plus authorities say 1,749 people have recovered so far

For previous updates and messages, and useful links including to information in English, visit and bookmark this site. (Note: no log-in is needed):https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs) UNOV/UNODC – IAEA – UNIDO – CTBTO

All Vienna International Centre (VIC) personnel must comply with the new Austrian regulation on face masks worn in grocery stores and drugstores. Together with our Host Country we can help to flatten the transmission curve.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Updates:

  • The rate of increase in COVID-19 cases in Austria has flattened, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told reporters in a televised briefing.
  • Three weeks ago, the number of cases was doubling every 2.4 days, he said. Two weeks ago, it was every four days. Now it is every eight days. A measure of stability is achieved when the doubling of cases is every 14 days. The aim is to ensure the hospitals can handle the case load.
  • Anschober said the measures were obviously beginning to take effect and Austria was heading in the right direction. It was important to keep going.
  • The Austrian authorities reported that as of 2200 today 11,123 people had tested positive with COVID-19 in Austria. The number of people who have recovered is 1,749. The death toll stands at 158. There have been 92,190 tests.

The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community is 10.

The number of VIC personnel working remotely or otherwise at home now routinely exceeds 97 percent.

There is a dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated frequently.

A reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running, cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.

These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April but will be extended.

Kurz announced three new measures on Monday:

  1. More protection for vulnerable groups; for example, they will not have to go to work if they can work from home or they can be placed on leave.
  2. Ensuring better compliance with the measures – police will be more stringent. There have already been more than 10,000 police reports on violations, including 2,000 just last weekend. Police will not hesitate to fine people if they do not comply.
  3. Face masks must be worn in supermarkets, once the masks have been delivered. They are compulsory from Monday 6 April.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL

FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS to Martin Nesirky

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – on face masks regulation
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – number of COVID-19 cases passes 10,000

For previous updates and messages, and useful links, visit and bookmark this site. (Note: no log-in is needed): https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs) UNOV/UNODC – IAEA – UNIDO – CTBTO

All Vienna International Centre (VIC) personnel must comply with the new Austrian regulation on face masks worn in grocery stores and drugstores. Together with our Host Country we can help to flatten the transmission curve.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Important updates:

  • Face masks began to be made available at supermarkets and drug stores from today. They become compulsory for grocery store visits from Monday 6 April.
  • The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Austria now exceeds 10,500.

Kurz announced three new measures on Monday:

  1. More protection for vulnerable groups; for example, they will not have to go to work if they can work from home or they can be placed on leave.
  2. Ensuring better compliance with the measures – police will be more stringent. There have already been more than 10,000 police reports on violations, including 2,000 just last weekend. Police will not hesitate to fine people if they do not comply.
  3. Face masks must be worn in supermarkets, once the masks have been delivered. They are compulsory from Monday 6 April.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.” These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April but will be extended.

The Austrian authorities reported that as of 2100 today 10,668 people had tested positive with COVID-19 in Austria. The death toll stands at 146. There have been 55,863 tests.

The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community is 10.

The number of VIC personnel working remotely or otherwise at home now routinely exceeds 97 percent.

There is a dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated frequently.

A reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running, cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL:

FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS: Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – one further COVID-19 case involving VIC personnel
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – no school and university likely in April and no decision yet on return, says Education Minister, Chancellor says the difficult times yet to come

For previous updates and messages, and useful links, visit and bookmark this site. (Note: no log-in is needed): https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)

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

There is one more case of COVID-19 involving VIC personnel.

On Tuesday, 31 March, the Austrian authorities confirmed that a person working at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was COVID-19 positive. The person was tested on 27 March and had been out of the workplace since 6 March 2020. Contact tracing is being conducted. There was no risk to any colleagues at the workplace.

This brings the cumulative total of COVID-19 among VIC personnel to 10 cases.

IMPORTANT: VIC Medical Services urges all personnel working at the VIC to report cases to the VIC Medical Service.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Important updates:

Education Minister Heinz Fassmann told reporters it was not yet possible to say when schools and universities would resume. Realistically speaking, it would not be possible to hold classes at the institutions in April, he said. All those who are scheduled to take school-leaving exams (Matura) or to finish compulsory schooling would be able to do so. The Matura date would be decided after Easter. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told ORF television on Monday evening that reopening schools would be an extreme burden on the system and could lead to a huge spread of the virus if the transmission rate was not close to zero.

Kurz said that the government hoped to be able to give some indication within a week on what would happen to the announced measures after Easter. He said that a special team was working on "gradually leading the country into a new normality". Kurz said there was no alternative to the stricter measures. “The truth is the difficult times still lie ahead,” he said.

A reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running, cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.

Kurz announced three new measures on Monday:

  • More protection for vulnerable groups; for example, they will not have to go to work if they can work from home or they can be placed on leave.
  • Ensuring better compliance with the measures – police will be more stringent. There have already been more than 10,000 police reports on violations, including 2,000 just last weekend. Police will not hesitate to fine people if they do not comply.
  • Face masks must be worn in supermarkets, once the masks have been delivered. The masks will probably be available at supermarket entrances from Wednesday. The masks do not protect the wearer from contracting the virus but do protect others if the wearer is already unwittingly infected. In the medium-term masks will be made compulsory anywhere people pass each other, Kurz said. An exact timeframe was not given for that. Kurz emphasized the masks were an additional measure, not a replacement for social distancing, which must continue.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.” These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April but will be extended.

The Austrian authorities reported that as of 1700 today 10,038 people had tested positive with COVID-19 in Austria. The death toll stands at 128. There have been 52,344 tests.

The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community is 10. The number of VIC personnel working remotely or otherwise at home now routinely exceeds 97 percent.There is a dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated frequently.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL





FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS: Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org 

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – update from Vienna International Centre (VIC) Medical Service – three new positive cases- Latest Austrian developments and measures –
  • Government tightens measures, face masks to be compulsory in supermarkets, police to enforce measures more stringently





For previous updates and messages, and useful links, visit and bookmark this site.  (Note: no log-in is needed):
https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx






MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)





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





There are three more confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving VIC personnel. These are the details:





There are two additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving staff members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).





On March 27th, the Austrian authorities confirmed that two more persons had tested positive for COVID-19, who had not been in the building since 13 March. They are both under self-quarantine and recovering from home. In one case, contact tracing by the Austrian authorities and the VIC Medical Service has identified individuals who were in close contact with the person and have been contacted by the authorities with instructions to self-quarantine for 14 days. Personnel not contacted by the Austrian authorities are not considered to be at risk. In the second case, the person was under self – quarantine since March 20th. A risk assessment conducted by local authorities and the VIC Medical Service has determined that there is no additional risk of exposure to other personnel.

Monday, 30 March, the authorities confirmed that a United Nations Office at Vienna (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 seven days. Close contact tracing was conducted by Austrian health authorities and identified one contact person 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.





These latest three cases bring the cumulative total of COVID-19 among VIC personnel to nine cases.





IMPORTANT:  VIC Medical Services urges all personnel working at the VIC to report cases to the VIC Medical Service.






LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES





Important updates:

  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a televised news conference today he knew many people in Austria had wanted to hear the measures were being relaxed. “But the truth is this is a marathon,” he said.
  • Kurz said Austria was experiencing the calm before the storm, and he feared there could be bottlenecks in hospitals within two weeks. This was why it was vital for people to adhere to the measures. Most were but a significant number still were not, and some were trivializing the outbreak. “Real normality will only return when we have beaten this virus,” he said.
  • Kurz announced three new measures:
    1. More protection for vulnerable groups; for example, they will not have to go to work if they can work from home or they can be placed on leave.
    2. Ensuring better compliance with the measures – police will be more stringent. There have already been more than 10,000 police reports on violations, including 2,000 just last weekend. Police will not hesitate to fine people if they do not comply.
    3. Face masks must be worn in supermarkets, once the masks have been delivered. The masks will probably be available at supermarket entrances from Wednesday. The masks do not protect the wearer from contracting the virus but do protect others if the wearer is already unwittingly infected. In the medium-term masks will be made compulsory anywhere people pass each other, Kurz said. An exact timeframe was not given for that. Kurz emphasized the masks were an additional measure, not a replacement for social distancing, which must continue.
  • Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler told the same briefing there was no way the measures would be eased after the Easter holidays. Kurz said when the measures were relaxed, businesses would start first. Schools and universities would follow later.
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said supermarkets would be able to limit entry to supermarkets to better protect staff. He also announced that hotel businesses should close.
  • Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said it was “catastrophically dangerous” to violate the social distancing rules. He said there were roughly 700 new COVID-19 cases a day. If even just a few people violate the rules, the figure could soon reach 2,000 a day, exceeding the number of intensive care beds.





A reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running, cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.
  • The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”
  • These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April but will be extended. For how long is not yet clear.
  • The Austrian authorities reported that as of 2100 today 9,603 people had tested positive with COVID-19 in Austria. The death toll stands at 108. There have been 49,455 tests. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told reporters 636 people had recovered and that the percentage increase in the 24-hour period to 0800 today was 6.3 percent. This was the lowest percentage increase in the infection rate for the third day in a row.
  • The cumulative total of positive cases currently reported among the VIC community is 9.
  • The number of VIC personnel working remotely or otherwise at home now routinely exceeds 97 percent.
  • There is a dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated frequently.






UNITED NATIONS DONATES 250,000 FACE MASKS TO NEW YORK CITY HEALTH WORKERS






COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL





FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS: Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org 

In today’s update:



  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – message on duty of care
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – Government says some signs measures working but the peak not reached and not time yet to ease measures
  • Important information on tackling domestic violence

For previous updates and messages, and useful links, visit and bookmark this site.  (Note: no log-in is needed): https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx






MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)





LMessage from the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) Chief Security Advisor for Austria, Bonnie Adkins





Dear Colleagues,





I hope this email finds you well.


 


In the past few weeks, we have been facing together the unique global challenge of COVID-19 pandemic, impacting our professional and personal lives.
The new realities of movement restrictions and closed borders fundamentally and suddenly changed the way we operate as the United Nations system. In Vienna, almost all Vienna International Centre (VIC) staff members are telecommuting from their homes, as required by the host country authorities in order to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak. While we are physically distanced, as a UN community we need to maintain our professional and social bonds and reach out to others.





In this context, we would like to highlight several responsibilities from the security perspective (as consistent with the UN Security Management System Framework of Accountability) as well as organizational duty of care. We would advise supervisors, in cooperation with your HR offices and security focal points, to have open communication channels with your staff, monitor closely and regularly the status of your staff members and conduct well-being checks at their homes if needed. Duty of care can be reflected at many diverse layers and on all levels. The primary duty of care starts with the Primary Supervisor/First Reporting Officer (FRO), who should ideally check daily on colleagues and their status, continuing with the wider network of other team members and the Secondary Supervisor/Second Reporting Officer (SRO), as well as other colleagues and supervisors in the entity, to senior managers and leaders. As part of this early warning system, any red flags should be raised promptly to HR offices and security focal points, particularly if a staff member does not respond and is not available on any communication channels and devices. Further, special attention should be dedicated to vulnerable personnel (elderly, pre-existing medical issues) and those staff members placed on sick leave, whether or not related to COVID-19.





We would also remind all staff that the first line of accountability lies with you, the staff member, who must keep an open channel of communication with your supervisors and organization and report any safety or security related issues immediately.





While we (UNDSS) stand ready to assist and support you in urgent cases, particularly in terms of coordination and requesting support from Host Country authorities, please be reminded that it is essential to act early on any concerns, preventing them from becoming a serious security issue, and possibly saving lives. Currently, Austria fares relatively well, comparatively speaking, but we cannot predict how the crisis will unfold in the foreseeable future and we need to take into account the possibility of decreased capacities of both the Security and Safety Service Vienna and Austrian law enforcement.





In this crisis, it is essential to act as a UN family, using all means of available modern technology, channels and applications to connect with our staff, look out for each other and overcome the crisis together.





Thank you.





Bonnie






LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES





Some updates:

  • The Austrian Government urged everyone on Friday to continue to comply with the measures that have now been in place for two weeks. No new measures will be introduced, pending an interim report on what impact the existing measures have had. The government will be evaluating this over the weekend.
  • Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told reporters on Friday the measures were showing some signs of having an impact on the rate of increase in the number of cases, which was about 18 percent yesterday. “But it is much, much, much too early for us to send any positive signal,” he said. The peak of infections in Austria was still to come, between mid-April and mid-May, Anschober added. By mid-April the aim was for the daily percentage increase in infections to be in the mid-single digits.
  • On Thursday evening on ORF TV, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz dampened expectations that the measures would be fully lifted after Easter. “The situation is serious, and it remains serious,” he said. The phase of massive restrictions would be followed by a phase of a new normality. It would not be possible to return to pre-crisis life until a vaccination or medication were available.
  • Interior Minister Karl Nehammer urged people to ignore fake news reports suggesting there had been an increase in asylum seekers. He said in fact the figure was about 12 a day, and this was the lowest in years.
  • The government has a special digital task force tracking, identifying and correcting false news reports on anything from conspiracy theories to fraudulent suggestions for treatment and self-diagnosis.

A reminder of the measures in force:  

Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:

  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
  4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others. This will be enforced by police; there are fines for transgressions.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.” These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April.

The Austrian authorities reported that as of 1500 today 7,441 people had tested positive with COVID-19 in Austria. The death toll stands at 58. There have been 39,552 tests.

The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community remains six.

The number of VIC personnel working remotely or otherwise at home now exceeds 97 percent.

There is a  dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated frequently.

SPEAKING UP AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The current restrictions in movement and confinement of personnel of the Vienna-based UN organizations to family homes in the Vienna duty station and elsewhere may cause additional stress for us and our families. Living in close quarters and not being able to avoid each other at times may add to potential conflict. Parenting in such circumstances of stress and lockdown could also add an additional potential compounding element.

In addition to each Organization’s duty of care towards its staff members, we wish to recognize and address issues of domestic violence that we may witness and that may increase and intensify during this stressful period. Children in particular are negatively affected by living with domestic abuse, whether or not they witness it directly.

In Vienna, there are 24-hour telephone hotlines, such as Frauenhelpline gegen Gewalt* (Women’s helpline against violence), Frauennotruf* (Women’s emergency call), and Rat auf Draht* (a helpline for children and their caregivers), which provide services in many languages, including English.





HelpChat is a 24-hour online counselling  service for women and girls affected by violence, available in German, English and Turkish.

There are also advice centres – for example the Domestic Abuse Intervention Centre Vienna (Wiener Interventionsstelle gegen Gewalt in der Familie*) and Viennese Women’s Shelters (Wiener Frauenhäuser*), where victims can work with a counsellor to find a path out of violence. We want to be clear that abuse is always unacceptable and that it may constitute criminal behaviour. Therefore, local authorities - in particular, the Police - can be of immediate help, including through issuance of a restraining order (“Betretungsverbot” or “Wegweisung”) and may forward your details to Domestic Abuse Intervention Centres in Vienna that will then contact you to offer support.  

For more detailed information, please visit: Metropole* or Interventionstelle-Wien* or Gewaltschutzzentrum*.

 

Contacts for staff in the Vienna-based UN organizations

If you are a member of the personnel of UNODC, UNOV or UNOOSA, or a member of their family and household, and affected by domestic violence in any form (including in duty stations away from Vienna), you can also reach out to the Chief of the Human Resources Management Service, Ms. Deborah Ernst.

For personnel working at the IAEA, the contact person is the Staff Counsellor, Patience Gebauer (available by appointment only)





UNIDO personnel can contact the UNIDO Staff Counsellor, Angelika Radax or UNIDO’s crisis email hotline





CTBTO personnel can also contact the Staff Counsellor, Patience Gebauer





Most of the services listed for VIC staff above are only available during established working hours. For support at any time of day or night, they may wish to contact the UNSSS Duty Room, which is staffed 24/7 or a local hotline that is always available.

Please note that those affected are not obliged to report gender-based security incidents to security personnel, and therefore assistance will only be provided if accepted by the affected persons. Notably, no action should be taken without the express permission of the affected persons, if and when appropriate.

IOM personnel can contact the Regional Human Resources Officer, Ms Filipina RIVERA in case of need.

It is in everyone’s interest to stop domestic violence.

* Please note we are not responsible for the content of external websites.






UPDATED PHARMACY GUIDANCE FROM VIC MEDICAL SERVICE (SEE POINT ON PRESCRIPTION DELIVERY):





VIC pharmacy service available online and in Vienna’s 12th district:





The VIC pharmacy is now offering its service online and at the “Maria Lourdes Apotheke” (Tivoligasse 50, 1120 Vienna) to all VIC staff and retirees under the same terms and conditions as in the VIC.

  • In accordance with Austrian Law, online orders can only be placed for non-prescription drugs.
  •  
  • To access the online pharmacy please go to https://ios.mla.at/login.php and create an account.
  • Instructions and access code are here:
  • IOS Access Code
  • Online orders can be dispatched by post or picked up at the “Maria Lourdes Apotheke” in the 12th district. 
  • Prescriptions drugs can be pre-ordered by email (office@mla.at) and purchased at the “Maria Lourdes Apotheke”.
  • In very urgent cases, the delivery of prescription drugs by messenger service will be available for a fee of 10 Euros. In that case, the prescription must be sent in advance by e-mail. Staff members will be able to get a stamp and signature on the prescription once the VIC has opened again.





COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL:

FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS: Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – some practical steps on medical prescriptions, plus Mail, Pouch and Receiving Services
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – urgently needed shipments of protective equipment arriving from today, plus energy supplies will not be disconnected if people can’t pay bills

For previous updates and messages, and useful links, visit and bookmark this site. (Note: no log-in is needed): https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)

Vienna International Centre (VIC) pharmacy service available online and in Vienna’s 12th district:

    The VIC pharmacy is now offering its service online and at the “Maria Lourdes Apotheke” (Tivoligasse 50, 1120 Vienna) to all VIC staff and retirees under the same terms and conditions as in the VIC.
  • In accordance with Austrian Law, online orders can only be placed for non-prescription drugs.
  • To access the online pharmacy please go to https://ios.mla.at/login.php and create an account.
  • Instructions and access code
  • Online orders can be dispatched by post or picked up at the “Maria Lourdes Apotheke” in the 12th district.
  • Prescriptions drugs can be pre-ordered by email (office@mla.at) and purchased at the “Maria Lourdes Apotheke”.
  • In very urgent cases, the delivery of prescription drugs by messenger service will be available for a fee of 10 Euros. In that case, the prescription must be sent in advance by e-mail and handed over to the messenger on delivery.

Operating hours of the Mail and Pouch and Receiving services:

Effective Monday, 30 March, the operating hours of the following services in the VIC will be:

  • Mail and pouch operations - Tuesdays and Fridays, 0800-1200
  • Receiving Area - Tuesdays and Fridays, 0600-1000

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates:

  • Several large deliveries of urgently needed protective equipment will arrive in Austria from Thursday onwards, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told reporters. He added that hospitals are well prepared for the coming weeks and have enough beds as of today. He said the strength of the Austrian strategy was that many patients were staying at home rather than being treated in hospital.
  • Anschober also said laboratories now had the capacity to analyse 15,000 tests a day. Medical staff and care personnel have priority for testing.
  • Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said electricity, gas and heating would not be disconnected if people got into difficulties with payments. This applies to private customers as well as the self-employed and small businesses. The measure is in place up to 1 May initially.

A reminder of the measures in force:  

Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:

  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
  4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others. This will be enforced by police; there are fines for transgressions.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”

These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April. The Austrian government is due to assess on Friday to what extent the measures have worked and what comes next.

The Austrian authorities reported that as of 0900 today there were 6,001 people with COVID-19 in Austria. The death toll stands at 42. There have been 35,995 tests.

The cumulative total of positive cases among the VIC community so far is six.

There is usually a dashboard available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated every 15 minutes. The dashboard has been offline for maintenance over the past 24 hours.

UN LAUNCHES MAJOR HUMANITARIAN APPEAL, PARTICULARLY FOR FRAGILE COUNTRIES

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL:

FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS: Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org

In today’s update:

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – four new positive cases and cumulative Vienna International Centre (VIC) figures
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – schools may be closed “significantly longer”, rise in calls to domestic violence hotline

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)

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

There are four new cases of COVID-19 in the VIC community. Here are the details on those four cases:

There are 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.

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.

Tuesday, 24 March, the authorities confirmed that a United Nations Office at Vienna (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.

The three IAEA cases and one UNOV case mean there are four new cases. As of today, there have been six confirmed cases in the VIC community.

We take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19 and request that personnel continue to respect the restrictions in place.

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

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates:

  • Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Austrian television on Tuesday evening school closures could last “significantly longer” than just up to 13 April.
  • He said for any measures to be relaxed the percentage rate of increase in reported positive cases would need to be in single digits. Note: The rate of increase yesterday was 24.3 percent compared with 21.0 the day before. A combination of occasional delays in reporting by some provinces and an increase in the number of tests may result in apparent fluctuations in the percentage increases.
  • The Minister of Women's Affairs, Susanne Raab, briefed the media today. She said the hotline for women suffering from or fearing domestic violence had received 50 percent more calls in recent days. So far, there has not been an increase in officially reported incidents of violence, the minister said. The hotline is 0800 222 555. The minister urged women to call the hotline at the first sign of danger.
  • (Note: the VIC CMT daily update will soon provide more information and numbers, including for non-German speakers.)

A reminder of the measures in force:  

Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:

  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
  4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others. This will be enforced by police; there are fines for transgressions.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.” These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April. Kurz said it was the aim to lift those measures step by step. He said the emphasis was on “aim” and “step by step”. Normal life would not resume from one day to the next. The Austrian authorities reported that as of 1430 today there were 5,560 people with COVID-19 in Austria, of them 242 are in hospital, with 28 in intensive care. Thirty people have died. Nine people have recovered. There have been 32,407 tests. A dashboard is available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated every 15 minutes.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL:

FEEDBACK/SUGGESTIONS: Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org

In today’s update:  

  • Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations (VBOs) – VIC access
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures – briefing by Austrian government
  • UN Secretary-General’s message to personnel on mental health
  • Secretary-General’s global ceasefire appeal

 

Feedback on the daily Vienna International Centre COVID-19 update, including on topics to cover, is most welcome. Please write to martin.nesirky@un.org

 

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)

 

Important message from the UN Security and Safety Service (UNSSS):

 

All requests for one-day/one-time entry of staff members should be received only from the Essential Staff list focal points to our Vienna International Centre (VIC) Security Coordinator email box. UNSSS is unable to manage the increased number of requests directly from staff members (other than the Essential Staff list focal point). Please ensure these requests are absolutely essential to business continuity and are not for convenience as this increases risk of exposure all staff who should be staying at home as well as to Security and other staff who do need to be at the VIC.

 

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

 

Some updates:  

  • Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a televised briefing the authorities were aiming to expand testing, with the aim of having 15,000 tests a day.
  • Kurz said it was still too early to say whether the restrictions on movement had worked. A first snapshot would be possible on Friday. He said it appreciated it was an extreme effort to limit social life, but everyone’s behaviour would have an impact on how matters develop in the coming weeks.
  • The Interior Minister urged people to comply with the measures, saying they were orders not recommendations, and that those who did not comply faced fines. The vast majority were adhering to the measures, he said. “Those who follow the rules become life savers. All those who do not are endangering lives.”
  • Social services, notably for the elderly, will be enhanced. Civil servants such as museum guards are being redeployed to this area.
  • The American International School has informed parents that one of its non-teaching staff in the IT Department, whose last day on campus was March 13, tested positive for the virus on March 22. The staff member had limited contact with children, but significant contact with staff in the days before the school closed.

 

A reminder of the measures in force:  

Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:

  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
  4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others. This will be enforced by police; there are fines for transgressions.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations." These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April. Kurz said it was the aim to lift those measures step by step. He said the emphasis was on “aim” and “step by step”. Normal life would not resume from one day to the next.The Austrian authorities reported that as of 1715 today there were 5,038 people with COVID-19 in Austria, of them 206 are in hospital, with 22 in intensive care. Twenty-eight people have died. Nine people have recovered. There have been 28,391 tests. A new dashboard is available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19, updated every 15 minutes.

   

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S LETTER TO STAFF ON MENTAL WELLBEING

 

English

 

French

   

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S GLOBAL CEASEFIRE APPEAL AND BRIEFING

 

Text

Video

   

WEB PAGE FOR ALL VIC PERSONNEL:

 

Please go to this page to find previous updates and messages from the main VBOs to all personnel. There you will also find useful links, including to information in English and other languages on developments in Austria.

   

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/info-for-un-staff

In today’s update:

  • Message from main Vienna-based UN organizations
  • Latest Austrian developments and measures
  • Vienna International Centre (VIC) Medical Service update, including laptop ergonomics tips
  • Link to watch UN Secretary-General’s virtual press briefing at 1700 today

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)

  • All but essential and critical personnel are already required to work remotely or otherwise be at home until 13 April, in line with the Austrian Government’s measures to tackle COVID-19.
  • We strongly recommend all essential and critical staff also work from home if at all possible and to prepare to do so. There are very few tasks that cannot be handled remotely.
  • The VIC week-day footprint is now below four percent of the usual number of personnel. We are working to reduce the footprint still further.
  • From today the cafeteria will be closed until 13 April.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates and a reminder of the measures in force:

Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:

  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
  4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others. This will be enforced by police; there are fines for transgressions.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.” These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April. The Austrian authorities reported that as of 1500 today there were 3,924 people with COVID-19 in Austria. Twenty-one people have died. Nine people have recovered. There have been 23,429 tests. A new dashboard is available (in German) reflecting the latest data on COVID-19.The Austrian health minister said the authorities planned to “massively increase” testing in the coming weeks, which would be in line with WHO recommendations, but that nationwide testing would not be feasible. Austria’s armed forces are mobilising 3,000 reservists as part of the COVID-19 response. This is the first such mobilisation in Austria’s post-war history.

VIC MEDICAL SERVICE UPDATE:

COVID-19 Health News:

New World Health Organization (WHO) app

To increase access to reliable information, WHO has partnered with WhatsApp to launch a WHO Health Alert messaging service. The new service, which is free to use, can be accessed via the following number on WhatsApp: +41 798 931 892. If you add the number as a contact and send the word “hi”, you will be offered to received information on several issues, from the latest numbers, to travel advice and how to donate. For more information on the app please visit https://www.whatsapp.com/coronavirus/who

Treatment and vaccination trial:

On 18 March, the WHO announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to compare experimental treatments in order to generate data to find out which treatments are the most efficient. According to WHO, the SOLIDARITY trial provides simplified procedures to enable even hospitals that have been overloaded to participate.

In addition, the WHO announced that the first vaccine trial has begun just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the virus was shared by China, calling this “an incredible achievement”.

Transmission rates to close contacts and households contacts:

According to research, during 14 days of active symptom monitoring of 445 close contacts of the initial 12 imported confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases, 54 (12 percent) developed symptoms and subsequently were tested. Two persons who were household contacts tested positive, for an overall symptomatic secondary attack rate of 0.45 percent and a symptomatic secondary attack rate of 10.5 percent among close contacts who were household members.

Stay active:

WHO EURO has released a guide on how to stay physically active during self-quarantine which is available here.

Information about persons being confirmed as COVID-19 and home quarantine in Austria

In Austria, mandatory home quarantine is imposed on persons who have tested positive for COVID-19. The quarantine period is determined by the Austrian Health Authorities and normally lasts for 14 days from the start of symptoms or from the day when the test was conducted. Data across several countries indicates that 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild to moderate, 15 percent severe, and five percent critical. Estimates are that only one percent to three percent of infected individuals are "truly" asymptomatic (remaining symptom free throughout the infection). Hospitalized persons will be discharged after two negative tests within 24 hours, which are normally conducted five to seven days after the end of symptoms.

Information about close contact tracing in Austria and compliance

Data shows that about one in in 10 close contacts will get COVID-19. This is similar for household members of a person who is a confirmed case.

During this phase of community spread, you may be notified via email or letter from Austrian Health Authorities that you have been identified as a potential close contact person to someone who has been tested positive for COVID-19, requesting you to home quarantine for 14 days.

The Austrian Health Authorities are tracking close contact persons placed under mandatory home quarantine via an electronic tool, which requires them to send a daily status update on their symptoms. Should you be identified as a close contact, a link will be sent to you by SMS together with a TAN, in order to access your personalized tracking page (https://www.wien.gv.at/homecare)

Please inform VIC Medical Service right away if you have been confirmed COVID-19 positive or been identified as a close contact person and placed under 14-day home quarantine (Austrian Health Authorities do not report this directly to VIC Medical Service)

See here for useful tips on ergonomics while working remotely.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL TO GIVE VIRTUAL PRESS BRIEFING AT 1200 EST/1700 VIENNA

You can follow this important briefing on these platforms:

UN Web TV direct live link: http://webtv.un.org/live-now/watch/un-chief-pc-covid19-conflicts-200323/5690600541001

UN YouTube: https://youtu.be/JH9sZxVlpDo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNWebTV/status/1241882610219061249

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UNWebTV/posts/3187795864565942

WEB PAGE FOR ALL VIC PERSONNEL:

Please go to this page to find previous updates and messages from the main VBOs to all personnel. There you will also find useful links, including to information in English and other languages on developments in Austria. Link: https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL:

https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/info-for-un-staff

Austrian measures to tackle COVID-19 extended to 13 April

The Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, announced today the measures that began on Monday 16 March were being extended until Monday 13 April 2020. In a televised government news conference, he called on everyone to persevere, saying the fight against COVID-19 was a marathon.

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 cleaning lady who was already recovering when the case was reported.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates and a reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others. This will be enforced by police; there are fines for transgressions.
  • The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”
  • These measures - which also cover the announced non-essential shop and restaurant, café and bar closures - last until midnight on Monday 13 April. Kurz said the measures were working and that was why they were being extended. He urged people not to let up, despite the inconveniences.
  • The health minister said the infection rate had slowed. It was 40 percent from one day to the next last week and was now around 20 percent. This was a first step and not yet sufficient. The authorities were aiming for single-digit growth.
  • As of 1430 today, there were 2,388 people with COVID-19 in Austria. Six people have died. Nine people have recovered. There have been 15,613 tests.
  • A financial package is being prepared to support the Austrian economy and workforce.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PRESS BRIEFING

“My central message is clear: We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply. We cannot resort to the usual tools in such unusual times. The creativity of the response must match the unique nature of the crisis – and the magnitude of the response must match its scale, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his first virtual press briefing from New York. “Our world faces a common enemy. We are at war with a virus.”

Transcript: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/press-encounter/2020-03-19/secretary-general-virtual-press-encounter-covid-19-crisis

Story and video: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059752

WEB PAGE FOR ALL VIC PERSONNEL:

Please go to this page to find previous updates and messages from the Vienna-based organizations to all personnel. There you will also find useful links, including to information in English and other languages on developments in Austria.

Link: https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL

https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/info-for-un-staff

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS (VBOs)

Change to opening of Gates at the Vienna International Centre (VIC):

To facilitate access for essential or critical staff, as identified by each VBO, the United Nations Security and Safety Service in Vienna would like to advise that the following arrangements will be put in place at the VIC as of Thursday, 19 March 2020.

Gates 1 and 4 will maintain regular opening hours throughout the entire period: 24 hours a day.

Gates 2, 3 and 5 will be closed.

Any deliveries must be preannounced to our Security Coordinator and must report to Gate 4.

Please note, to gain access to the VIC, staff must present a valid staff access card and be listed on the critical/essential staff list provided by the VBO administrations. All others will not have access to the VIC at this time. The United Nations Security and Safety Service of Vienna wants to thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Communique from UN Department of Safety and Security on remote working outside normal duty station:

The UN Security and Safety Service of Vienna draws your attention to this communique from Gilles Michaud, the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Safety and Security:

  1. In light of rapidly developing situation with COVID-19, in many countries, UN organizations are implementing remote working, including outside of the duty stations. The safety and security of UN personnel is our priority and we would like to ensure that all UN personnel remain informed of security updates and are supported by local security arrangements, irrespective of the place they are working from.
  2. When working remotely at a location outside their normal duty station, UN personnel are considered on official duty. UN personnel must request security clearance whether they arrived at the location on a personal or official travel.
  3. Therefore, we recommend that all personnel:
    • Update their TRIP profile online;
    • Request a security clearance when they are telecommuting outside of their duty station;
    • Download the Electronic Travel Advisory (e-TA) app and enable geolocation and notifications on their phones.
  4. Thank you for your cooperation. This is important to ensure that you are supported in case of security emergency.

VIC MEDICAL SERVICE UPDATE:

VIC Medical Service: COVID-19 outbreak: Taking care of yourself and your family

Insights on how to get the support you need

Around the world, social distancing, quarantine or isolation measures are part of the global effort to slow COVID 19’s spread. But cutting regular social contact and interrupting daily routines, combined with the stress of family and work responsibilities and the exposure to worrying news, can take a toll on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

What to Expect

During a period of social distancing, quarantine or isolation, you or your family members may experience:

  • Fear and anxiety: Feeling anxious or worried about contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others, having concerns about obtaining food and personal supplies, taking time off work or fulfilling family care obligations.
  • Lack of energy and sadness: Interrupting your daily routine may result in feelings of sadness, apathy or boredom.
  • Anger, frustration or irritability: Loss of personal freedom can be frustrating. You may also experience anger or resentment leading you to get easily upset with those close to you.
  • Stigmatization: If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you may feel stigmatized by others.

How to Cope Better

It is important to recognize these emotions and to know that there are tools to help you cope better in this difficult situation.

Limit news consumption to reliable sources

It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19. Trusted organizations—including the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control are ideal sources of information on the virus. Remember that too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Psychologists recommend balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities unrelated to quarantine or isolation, such as reading, listening to music or learning a new language.

Create and follow a daily routine

Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely. Integrate other healthy pastimes as needed.

Stay virtually connected with others

Your face-to-face interactions may be limited, but psychologists suggest using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle seek professional support when needed

Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stresses of isolation and quarantine. If needed, consider telehealth options for psychotherapy. If you already have a psychologist, contact her or him to see if they can continue your sessions online.

Use psychological strategies to manage stress and stay positive

Aim to make a realistic assessment of your concerns and your ability to cope. Accept that there are things beyond your control, which cannot be changed, and focus on the positive elements in your life and the things you can do. One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. You may also choose to download smartphone applications and online videos that deliver mindfulness and relaxation exercises(see for example20 Minute Connection Practice and Guided Meditation) and coping and resilience resources such as exercises for deep breathing, positive imagery, muscle relaxation and more.

https://www.headspace.com/covid-19 offers an excellent compilation of resources on meditation, stress management and other coping techniques for individuals, managers and children.

Focusing on the altruistic reasons for social distancing, quarantine or isolation can also help mitigate psychological distress. Remember that by following these measures, you and your family are protecting yourselves and your community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

Helping your children cope with stress

Keep in mind that children may experience stress in different ways, such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc. It is important to listen to their concerns and reassure them, providing age-appropriate factual information about the situation and the protective measures that should be followed. Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.

Adapted from:

www.apa.org;

www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/social-distancing

www.who.int

Other helpful resources:

https://www.mindful.org/connection-practice-remedy-feelings-isolation/

www.mindful.org/category/meditation/guided-meditation/

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates and a reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities say there are only four reasons to leave home:
    1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
    2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
    3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
    4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.
  • The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”
  • These measures last until midnight 22 March. Austrian officials have said publicly the measures will be reviewed, and possibly extended or amended.
  • Austria’s health minister told a news conference today all those arriving by plane from abroad would need to self-quarantine for 14 days. He also said police would be intervening more if they detected people violating the restrictions on movement, especially gathering in groups.
  • As of 1430 today, there were 2,013 people with COVID-19 in Austria. Six people have died. Nine people have recovered. There have been 13,724 tests. The health minister said 11 people were in intensive care.

REMINDER OF NEW WEB PAGE FOR ALL VIC PERSONNEL:

We have a new page with VIC Medical Service updates and messages from the Vienna-based organizations to all personnel. There you will find all the information in these daily updates and more. Link: https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/covid19/SitePages/Home.aspx

STAYING SAFE ONLINE WHILE WORKING REMOTELY – ADVICE FROM UNODC CYBERCRIME CHIEF

Watch this YouTube video with advice for VIC personnel from UNODC’s Chief of Cybercrime & Anti-Money Laundering, Neil Walsh. Key points below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_2PXdJwUGI

Cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 virus pandemic by:

  • Sending emails with “virus updates” which then seek to gather your login and password details. Always verify the veracity of an email before you click on links or attachments.
  • Maps/Apps which display the spread of the virus are being compromised with malware – downloading these can compromise your computer and the whole organization.
  • Cybercriminals are exploiting online marketplaces – selling, for example, non-existent hand sanitizer.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL

https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/info-for-un-staff

VIENNA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE (VIC) MEDICAL SERVICE UPDATE:

Up to now, there has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 at the VIC involving a member of the cleaning company and which we reported on 17 March. Medical Service is informed that two VIC staff members are waiting to be tested for COVID-19 due to unexplained prolonged symptoms. Since 14 March, Medical Service has monitored 99 staff members through telephone calls or emails and responded to questions and concerns related to COVID-19.

Based on the questions received so far, the VIC Medical Service wants to highlight the following key points:

  • The main driver of COVID-19 transmission is the spread of droplets resulting from symptoms (cough, sneeze);
  • While it is possible to be infected by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face, this is not a key factor in the transmission chain; The presence of an asymptomatic COVID-19 case in your surroundings (same building, floor or work area) does not constitute a direct risk in itself, as transmission requires close contact (handshake, face to face within one to two metres for more than 15 minutes) or that the infected person would cough or sneeze directly in your face;
  • The disinfection required for COVID-19 is just routine cleaning. The virus is as susceptible to soap and water as the influenza virus – hand sanitizer works but is not required. Normal disinfection kills this virus.
  • Air conditioning has no effect as the virus is not airborne.

Please note:

  • Not every symptom (e.g. slightly elevated temperature, cough, headache or sneezing, stuffy or runny nose) is related to COVID-19.
  • 80-90 % of persons who get infected will have a mild illness which normally lasts five to seven days.
  • Rest, stay hydrated, manage your symptoms (e.g. paracetamol to reduce fever and ease aches and pains).
  • Older persons and persons who have a chronic illness seem to be at higher risk of getting more severe disease.
  • Staff who have concerns about respiratory symptoms are advised to call the Austrian Health line 1450 or VIC Medical Service.

MESSAGE FROM THE MAIN VIENNA-BASED UN ORGANIZATIONS

The UN Security and Safety Service in Vienna reports that fewer than five percent of 5,000 personnel are now working at the VIC to carry out critical tasks. That means more than 95 percent of colleagues are working remotely or otherwise at home. Thank you to those who are keeping all Vienna-based organizations running at the VIC.

Thank you to all personnel for helping all the Vienna-based organizations (VBOs) to continue to carry out our important work and to dramatically reduce its footprint. This is contributing to Austria’s efforts to flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19.

Stay home unless you are approved to come to the VIC to carry out critical tasks. This instruction remains in place until 3 April. Look out for yourself, your families and each other.

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.

Secretary-General expresses gratitude to VIC personnel:

UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke by video conference with the leadership of a number of the VBOs on Tuesday afternoon. He expressed his full solidarity with and support to all of us, including colleagues in the field and all duty stations during this difficult time. He encouraged VBO leadership teams to minimize the negative impacts of the situation on the working conditions of staff. He also expressed his gratitude for the work we are doing.

New web page for all VIC personnel:

We have launched a new page with VIC Medical Service updates and messages from the Vienna-based organizations to all personnel. It also has useful links to further information. This page, put together by the IT and Communication teams of the IAEA, will help everyone, particularly those working remotely without access to the network of their organization. The page is not password protected and therefore will not contain any confidential information.

Guidance from Austria’s Federal Criminal Police Office:

The Host Country authorities advise VIC personnel to be vigilant and exercise caution in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly for persons falsely impersonating police or other first responders and asking for the location of money or other valuables in the apartment. In such cases, police should be contacted immediately.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates and a reminder of the measures in force:

  • Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household.
  • The Austrian authorities have updated their advice to say there are only four reasons to leave home:
  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly.
  4. To get some exercise (such as walking, running cycling or walking the dog). But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities, which should be only if absolutely necessary, it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with other people and keep a minimum one-metre distance from others.
  • The Austrian Foreign Ministry says: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”
  • These measures last until midnight 22 March. We will seek Host Country guidance on whether the measures will be extended or amended.
  • As of 0800 today, there are more than 1,471 people with COVID-19 in Austria. Three people have died. Nine people have recovered. There have been 11,977 tests.

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S VIDEO MESSAGE TO ALL UN PERSONNEL

Text of message:

My dear Colleagues,

The strength of our United Nations is YOU - our committed and dedicated personnel.Events have moved at alarming speed over the past two weeks. This crisis is unprecedented. And I am proud of how – together - you are adapting so quickly. I understand the enormous stress that measures to contain the virus are putting on you and your families. Many of you -- like me -- are working away from loved ones and worrying deeply about them. Working from home can feel isolating and lonely at a time of great anxiety. So please, let’s continue to look out for each other – and those who are most vulnerable. Let’s find inspiration in those who are “care-mongering” – rather than scaremongering. If we are going to spread anything, let’s spread kindness.

In the meantime, we can be proud that the United Nations continues the important work on which many in the world depend – although in different ways and in different places. Please be assured that I, along with your senior management and crisis teams, remain actively on watch, and will communicate with you regularly and listen to your concerns. We are already working on some of these, including restrictions on movement, rest and recuperation, medical evacuation, leave, and other problems that are emerging.

I thank you for your commitment, professionalism and above all, your compassion.

We are all in this together, and we will get through it – together.

Thank you all.

STAYING SAFE ONLINE WHILE WORKING REMOTELY – ADVICE FROM UNODC CYBERCRIME CHIEF

Watch this YouTube video with advice for VIC personnel from UNODC’s Chief of Cybercrime & Anti-Money Laundering, Neil Walsh. Key points below.

Cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 virus pandemic by:

  • Sending emails with “virus updates” which then seek to gather your login and password details. Always verify the veracity of an email before you click on links or attachments.
  • Maps/Apps which display the spread of the virus are being compromised with malware – downloading these can compromise your computer and the whole organization.
  • Cybercriminals are exploiting online marketplaces – selling, for example, non-existent hand sanitizer.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL

REPORT ON EUROPEAN UNION TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

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 10th 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.

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 percent of colleagues are working remotely or otherwise at home. Thank you to those who are keeping all Vienna-based organizations running at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

  • Thank you to all personnel for helping all the Vienna-based organizations (VBOs) to continue to carry out our important work and to dramatically reduce its footprint. This is contributing to Austria’s efforts to flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19
  • Stay home unless you are approved to come to the VIC to carry out critical tasks. This instruction remains in place until 3 April. Look out for yourself, your families and each other.
  • 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.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Some updates and a reminder of the measures announced on Sunday, and some further details:

The Austrian Foreign Ministry said in a diplomatic note today: “Diplomatic missions, Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Consulates General are expressly requested to comply with these regulations.”

Everyone in Austria should stay at home and avoid contact with others beyond their immediate household. Only three reasons to leave home:

  1. To go to work if it cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  2. To shop for essential supplies such as food and medicine.
  3. To tend to others who need support, such as the elderly

It is admissible, if absolutely necessary, to go for a walk or run or to walk the dog. But public transport should not be used for these purposes. If you do go outside for these activities it should be alone or with others from your household. You must avoid interaction with others and keep a minimum one metre distance from others.

Sports grounds, gyms and playgrounds are closed.

Restaurants, bars and cafes will close completely from Tuesday

These measures took effect today and last until midnight 22 March. We will seek Host Country guidance on whether the measures will be extended

Civilian service reservists such those who worked as ambulance crew are being mobilized. Military reservists will be used for crisis response. Military already being used to help at supermarket warehouses to speed deliveries.

No entry to travellers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Russia.

All Austrian Airlines flights are being grounded from 18 March until 28 March.

The Austrian authorities said today there are more than 1,000 people with COVID-19 in Austria. Three people have died. There have been some 8,500 tests.

STAYING SAFE ONLINE WHILE WORKING REMOTELY – ADVICE FROM UNODC CYBERCRIME CHIEF

Advice from UNODC’s Chief of Cybercrime & Anti-Money Laundering, Neil Walsh.

Cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 virus pandemic by:

  • Sending emails with “virus updates” which then seek to gather your login and password details. Always verify the veracity of an email before you click on links or attachments.
  • Maps/Apps which display the spread of the virus are being compromised with malware – downloading these can compromise your computer and the whole organization.
  • Cybercriminals are exploiting online marketplaces – selling, for example, non-existent hand sanitizer.

  • 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.

LATEST AUSTRIAN DEVELOPMENTS AND MEASURES

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has urgently appealed to all those in Austria to stay at home and not to meet anyone. He told Austria’s ORF public broadcaster late on Saturday that Austria was facing its greatest challenge since the Second World War.

“This week is absolutely decisive. That’s why I am issuing this urgent appeal to all Austrians; stay at home. Stay at home and do not meet anyone. There are only three reasons to leave the house. First, if you have to go to work and do your duty so that our republic functions. Second, for urgent, essential errands such as food. And third, to support those people who need support because they cannot help themselves,” he told ORF television.

Broadcast (in German)

On Sunday, Kurz announced further measures in an emergency parliamentary session, including some that further tighten those announced on Friday. He said the country faced “challenging, difficult and painful weeks”.

Measures announced on Sunday:
  • Sports grounds and playgrounds will be closed.
  • Restaurants, bars and cafes will close completely from Tuesday.
  • Civilian service reservists such those who worked as ambulance crew are being mobilized. Military reservists will be used for crisis response.
  • No entry to travellers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Russia.
  • A curfew in the Austrian province of Tyrol.

COVID-19 WEBSITE FOR ALL UN SYSTEM PERSONNEL

REMINDER OF VIC MEDICAL SERVICE ADVICE

Advice from VIC Medical Service on practical procedures:

  • What to do if you have respiratory symptoms and are concerned about having COVID-19

    If you have travelled during the last 14 days to one of the affected countries, then call the Austrian COVID-19 hotline: 1450.

  • If you have not travelled and are still worried call your GP or 1450.

    If the symptoms are mild and you would be considered a suspected case, then 1450 will inform the Aerztefunkdienst, the mobile doctor service, and you will be tested at your home. Results are back normally within 24 hours, sometimes earlier.

    You can also contact Medical Service which is able to assist with the assessment for any suspected case and can facilitate the process with the Austrian health line 1450. Medical Service has established a 24/7 doctor hotline to answer staff’s queries remotely.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19

    If you are tested positive for COVID-19 you will be monitored and asked to stay in home quarantine by the Austrian authorities. Most of the time (more than 80 percent of cases) the illness will be a mild disease (flu-like, common cold-like illness).

    Your family members have a potential chance to be infected during your 14-day home quarantine. The principles of avoiding close contact still apply at home. If possible, you should have your own room to separate you physically from the rest of the family. If that is not possible direct or close contact should be avoided, in line with the general respiratory illness prevention measures. This procedure would apply if a family member tests positive rather than you.

    In case of any severe illness you call 144 and the emergency ambulance service will attend to you.

  • If your family members test positive for COVID-19

    You must notify the VIC Medical Service about the positive test result. This will allow the Medical Service to monitor and assist with any questions regarding healthcare matters.

Latest Austrian measures

The Austrian government announced the following this afternoon, Friday 13 March:

  • All businesses are asked to allow telecommuting wherever possible.
  • From Monday restaurants, bars and cafes are open only until 15:00. Restaurant delivery services are allowed to continue operating. It is not yet clear how long this measure will be in force.
  • From Monday shops will stay closed, except for supermarkets, pharmacies, drugstores, banks, post offices, petrol stations, newsagents and shops for pet food and other daily necessities. This measure is envisaged to apply for one week, subject to review.
  • Border controls on Swiss border.
  • Flights to and from Switzerland, Spain and France stop from Monday. No time limit given yet.
  • Austrian province of Tyrol: the areas Paznauntal and St. Anton am Arlberg have been placed under quarantine with immediate effect for 14 days because of the number of cases. Foreign nationals will be able to leave the area but must leave the country.
  • Education Ministry information: School attendance (all grades) is not mandatory from Monday 16 March. Parents of children under the age of 14 do not need to provide a written reason for their child’s absence on Monday and Tuesday.

The Austrian President will address the country on TV and online at 1930 today. More information on the measures on the Austrian government website (in German, soon):

Message from VIC Security and Safety Service

In order to facilitate access for essential or critical staff, as identified by each VBO, the United Nations Security and Safety Service in Vienna would like to advise that the following arrangements will be put in place at the Vienna International Centre as of Monday, 16 March 2020.

  • Gates 1 and 4 will maintain regular opening hours throughout the entire period: 24 hours a day.
  • Gates 5 will have the following opening hours: Monday – Friday: 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • Gates 2 and 3 will be closed.

Please note, to gain access to the VIC, staff must present a valid staff access card and be listed on the critical/essential staff list provided by the VBO administrations. All others will not have access to the VIC at this time.

The United Nations Security and Safety Service of Vienna wants to thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Diplomatic personnel

As there will be no routine meetings and most of the VIC services will be closed, access for diplomatic personnel and support staff of Permanent and Observer Missions from 16 March to 3 April will be restricted. Alternative communications such as telephone or videoconferencing are recommended.

In exceptional circumstances only, Permanent and Observer Missions should contact the respective offices for access to be arranged in cooperation with the VIC Security and Safety Service.

External service providers

The following services at the VIC will be closed 16 March -3 April 2020:

  • Commissary
  • Bank Austria
  • UNFCU
  • Bundy Bundy
  • Morowa
  • Austrian Post
  • Dry cleaners
  • Pharmacy
  • DHL

     

VIC Medical Services will provide critical/essential services on site.

VIC Medical Service message

Advice from VIC Medical Service on practical procedures: What to do if you have respiratory symptoms and are concerned about having COVID-19:

  • If you have travelled during the last 14 days to one of the affected countries, then call the Austrian COVID-19 hotline: 1450.
  • If you have not travelled and are still worried call your GP or 1450.
  • If the symptoms are mild and you would be considered a suspected case, then 1450 will inform the Aerztefunkdienst, the mobile doctor service, and you will be tested at your home. Results are back normally within 24 hours, sometimes earlier.

    You can also contact Medical Service which is able to assist with the assessment for any suspected case and can facilitate the process with the Austrian health line 1450. Medical Service has established a 24/7 doctor hotline to answer staff’s queries remotely.

If you test positive for COVID-19:

If you are tested positive for COVID-19 you will be monitored and asked to stay in home quarantine by the Austrian authorities. Most of the time (more than 80 percent of cases) the illness will be a mild disease (flu-like, common cold-like illness).

Your family members have a potential chance to be infected during your 14-day home quarantine. The principles of avoiding close contact still apply at home. If possible, you should have your own room to separate you physically from the rest of the family. If that is not possible direct or close contact should be avoided, in line with the general respiratory illness prevention measures. This procedure would apply if a family member tests positive rather than you.

In case of any severe illness you call 144 and the emergency ambulance service will attend to you.

If your family members test positive for COVID-19

You must notify the VIC Medical Service about the positive test result. This will allow the Medical Service to monitor and assist with any questions regarding healthcare matters.

Cleaning of VIC

Cleaning staff will be working this weekend to sanitize the entire Vienna International Centre.

Dear colleagues,

Bearing in mind the measures taken by the Austrian authorities and the advice from the Vienna International Centre Medical Service, the Executive Heads of the four main Vienna-based Organizations 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.

Sincerely,

Ghada Waly, Designated Official for Austria, Director-General/Executive Director, United Nations Office at Vienna/United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency

LI Yong, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

Dear colleagues

As Secretary-General António Guterres said in his letter to all UN staff worldwide on 8 March, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has become the leading cause of upheaval today and concern for the future. He assured everyone that the health and safety of all staff, and of the people we serve, are at the core of everything we are doing to address the outbreak and the disruptions it has triggered. He said there was no time to lose in preparing for what may come next.

We have requested the VIC Crisis Management Team (CMT) to continue assessing the situation and recommend concrete measures to be adopted with a common approach across all VIC organizations. The CMT met again on Tuesday and continues to prepare carefully and prudently in a fast-moving environment, following guidance from our host country Austria, the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Headquarters in New York.

We know all of you are concerned for your own welfare and that of your families here in Austria and around the globe. We are a strong community of some 5,000 people from around 125 countries. Our strength comes from your professionalism, sense of duty and care for each other.

The health of staff, personnel and visitors in the VIC remains our top priority. With this in mind, we have agreed a number of measures to reduce the risk of exposure 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.

  1. All UN Information Service (UNIS) Visitors Service guided tours and lecture programmes are suspended until further notice.
  2. UN personnel over 65 and those with serious chronic medical conditions are strongly encouraged to telecommute. Managers are encouraged to do everything possible to allow this.
  3. Retirees will not have access to the VIC until further notice. The Association of Retired International Civil Servants in Vienna will provide support to its members, liaising with relevant VBO colleagues where necessary.
  4. Private visitors will not have access to the VIC until further notice.
  5. Interns will continue to have access.

     

  6. Family members will continue to have access.
  7. Official visitors will continue to have access to the VIC. Official visitors, including meeting participants, are strongly encouraged not to come to the VIC if they are over 65 or have serious chronic medical conditions.
  8. In principle, meetings and events with more than 100 participants will not be held until further notice. Video conferencing is strongly encouraged.

All these measures come into effect from today, Wednesday 11 March 2020. These measures will be reviewed and updated as developments dictate. We appreciate that these measures may be an inconvenience; staff welfare and community responsibility drive our decision-making. We encourage everyone to follow WHO guidelines on hygiene.

For medical emergencies in the VIC, contact Medical Service or the Security Emergency Operations Centre on 99.

Outside the VIC: For emergencies call the Austrian emergency number 144, for general care seek out an urgent care clinic. For respiratory symptoms and travel history from risk areas call the Austrian Health hotline 1450 (German and English). For general care seek out an urgent care clinic (example: Akutversorgung Privatklinik Döbling, Heiligenstädter Straße 55-63, 1190 Vienna: +43 1 360 66-5599), or go to the emergency department of any of the Austrian general hospitals.

For the latest information from WHO on COVID-19 outbreak areas: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

Advice and guidance from WHO on COVID-19: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 and https://www.epi-win.com:

For up-to-date information and guidelines specifically for UN personnel, visit: https://hr.un.org/page/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

We thank you for working as one, and we know we can count on your continued understanding and cooperation at this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Ghada Waly, Designated Official for Austria, Director-General/Executive Director, United Nations Office at Vienna/United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency

LI Yong, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization