Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations: measures to tackle COVID-19 extended to 13 April

Message from the main Vienna-based UN organizations: measures to tackle COVID-19 extended to 13 April

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VIENNA, 20 March 2020 - 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:

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

Story and video are available here

Please find update from 1 April 2020 here.

Please find update from 17 March 2020 here.

Please find update from 16 March 2020 here.

Please find update from 13 March 2020 here.

Please find update from 12 March 2020 here.

New global multilingual portal for information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing together information from the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other UN agencies, is accessible here.