Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus in a number of countries, the Lab has set up a Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG) led by David von Damm to monitor the evolving federal, state, and local guidance and to advise Lab leadership on measures that should be taken to protect the health of our employees, affiliates, users, and visitors.
Because of the uncertainty behind the spread of COVID-19 overseas, the Lab is discouraging all international travel for personal or official business. The Lab is restricting travel to certain countries, as follows:
Lab-related business travel is now restricted to all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Level 3 countries. South Korea and China are currently classified as Level 3 (“avoid all non-essential travel”) by the CDC.
Effective immediately, all new and previously planned travel to CDC Level 2 countries requires permission from your Associate Lab Director. Italy, Japan, and Iran are on the CDC’s list of countries rated as Level 2 (“practice enhanced precautions”) due to COVID-19.
The Lab will continue to follow the CDC’s guidance when additional countries are added to the Level 3 and Level 2 CDC categories. If you have any questions or concerns about foreign business travel, please contact Debbie Warner, OCFO Senior Foreign Travel Specialist, at 510-486-5516.
As the situation evolves, there could be flight cancellations and delays, regional shutdowns, and restrictions on entering countries, making international travel more difficult than usual. Before you decide to travel internationally, work with your supervisor to see if there are alternatives, such as teleconferencing. If you choose to travel overseas for business or personal reasons, please refer to these resources.
Arriving Users and Visitors
Effective immediately, users and visitors traveling to the Lab directly from CDC Level 3 countries (presently China and South Korea) will not be permitted access to Lab facilities. We will work with our Lab user facilities to help with communications for users and hosts.
Arriving Employees and Affiliates
The Lab is also developing special communications and a process for employees and affiliates arriving from overseas locations.
Foreign national employees and affiliates who are abroad and unable to enter the U.S. due to visa/travel restrictions or delays related to COVID-19 are asked to contact the Lab’s International Researchers and Scholars Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance and assistance as needed.
Protecting Yourself and Others
Finally, please keep in mind that the chance of contracting COVID-19 remains extremely low at this point, and most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover; it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health by following these tips:
Stay home if you feel unwell.
Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth in public; wash your hands before and after if you do touch these.
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
We all care deeply about our Lab community. We will continue to actively monitor the impact of the COVID-19 virus to best safeguard our people by employing an evidence-based approach based on science. We will continue to provide updates on this situation as it develops by email, at status.lbl.gov, 1-800-445-5830, and @LBNLstatus.
For questions please email CIMG@lbl.gov.