Coronavirus: VIC Sends Staff to Work from Home

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: March 12, 2020; 19:31 ♦ Updated: March 15; 17:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Vienna International Centre (VIC, UNO-City) is intensifying its security measures against the coronavirus. All employees of the organizations based at the VIC are to work from home from Monday, 16 March to Friday, 3 April. Update: On Sunday, 15 March, the UNIS United Nations Information Service concretised the specifications of the main Vienna-based UN organisations as outlined below.

The VIC adopts stringent security measures against the Coronavirus. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Herbert Ortner, Vienna, Austria [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (]

In order to ensure the safety of the approximately 5000 international diplomats, scientists and support staff working at the VIC, the heads of the 4 largest organizations today decided on further measures and issued a joint declaration.

Taking into account the measures taken by the Austrian authorities and the VIC Medical Service, the four largest Vienna-based Organizations (VBOs), UN in Vienna/UNODC, IAEA, UNIDO and CTBTO PrepCom have decided and ordered that all staff should work from home from Monday 16 March to Friday 3 April. 

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.

Already yesterday the "heads" announced a series of measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection for all those people at the VIC, and particularly vulnerable groups.

The most vulnerable groups are people over 65 and those with health problems who are at higher risk.

"The health of employees and visitors to the VIC remains a top priority," said a press release from UNIS United Nations Information Service.

The measures are as follows:

  1. As part of the measures affecting the public, the Visitors Service of the UN Information Service (UNIS) has suspended guided tours and lecture programmes.
  2. Private visitors are not allowed to enter the VIC.
  3. As a general rule, meetings and events with more than 100 people will not be held.

The measures will take effect immediately, until further notice.

On Sunday, 15 March, the UNIS United Nations Information Service concretised the specifications of the main Vienna-based UN organisations as follows:

"The main Vienna-based UN organizations at the Vienna International Centre issued the following urgent COVID-19 message to all personnel."

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

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