Medical and Travel Quarantine

updated 14 January 2021 

This section contains information on CERN measures that are relevant for situations requiring quarantine or self-isolation, namely:

  • confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19;
  • close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 ;
  • arrival/return from travel to countries/regions considered at high risk for COVID-19 infection by CERN Host States (Switzerland and France)

Confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 or having  had a positive test for the infection, should inform CERN’s Medical Service immediately.

Regarding access to CERN sites, as of 18 January, unless the CERN Medical Service decides otherwise, the following applies:

  • Persons with COVID-19 symptoms that have tested negative for COVID-19 shall self-isolate and not come on to the CERN site for the duration of the symptoms plus two days without symptoms;
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases shall self-isolate and not come on the CERN site for at least 12 days from the date of the first symptoms, with the last two days being symptom-free. 

In a situation of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, the person should follow the self-isolation procedures of the country/area in which they live.

Procedure in Switzerland.

Procedure in France.


Close contact with confirmed COVID-19-infected person  

CERN’s Medical Service will follow-up the close contacts of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases for contact tracing. Access to CERN for close contacts is not allowed for 14 days from the day of their identification as a close contact, either by CERN’s Medical Service or a national authority .

CERN considers a close contact to be:

  • any person who has been in contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case during work on the CERN site, under conditions defined in the CERN contact tracing procedure, during the 14 days prior to the first manifestation of COVID-19 symptoms;
  • persons working on the CERN site that are considered as a close contact under applicable Host States legislation regarding COVID-19.
  • persons who have shared tools that have not been disinfected between use with someone who has tested positive, without wearing gloves.

Anyone that is considered a close contact should follow the quarantine procedures of the country/area in which they live.

Procedure in Switzerland.

Procedure in France.


Arrival or return from travel to countries/regions considered at high risk for COVID-19 by CERN Host States

CERN’s Host States have established quarantine measures  for people arriving or returning from countries/areas  considered as high risk for COVID-19. These measures are aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19. In light of the fast-evolving global situation, these measures change frequently and often at short notice.

CERN Management regularly reviews the Host State measures in order to adapt its own framework related to arrival or return from high risk for COVID-19 countries/areas in light of the safety and well-being of everyone on site and the operational needs of the Laboratory.

The overarching principle is that anyone coming to the area from any country or region considered as high risk for COVID-19 is required to quarantine for 10 days following their arrival in the local area before coming on to the CERN sites.

Switzerland regularly updates its list of countries and regions considered to be high risk for transmission of COVID-19. France publishes a list of countries for which there is no entry restriction into the country; all countries not on that list are considered as high risk for COVID-19 under the CERN rules, even for those who have tested negative for COVID-19.

Exceptions may be possible if presence on site for those arriving or returning from such an area is needed for urgent interventions or other aspects considered to be crucial to the operations of the Laboratory, as determined by the Director-General. In this case, additional protective measures to limit the risks of on-site transmission will need to be put in place.

The above-mentioned measures apply to all Members of the Personnel, independent of status, and to contractors. They are also irrespective of testing.

More information on the possible exceptions and relevant procedures to follow for an exception request are available in Annex 1 – CERN Instructions on COVID-19-related health and safety measures (updated on 08.10.2020 – See Appendix C - Exceptions from travel quarantine) (behind CERN login)

Anyone returning from a country/area with a high risk for COVID-19 infections classified as such by either Switzerland or France must also:

  • Announce their return to CERN’s Medical Service (+41 22 766 7777) and to their supervisor.
  • If allowed to come on to CERN sites, limit as much as possible contacts with other people on-site (namely by not using restaurants and common areas at peak hours).
  • Employed members of personnel (MPE) and associated members of the personnel for the purpose of training (MPAt) will be required to quarantine. For information on the modalities of work and leave during this period defined by CERN, consult the FAQ or Absence Management Table (behind CERN login). 
  • Associated members of personnel (MPA), contractors, etc. are expected to respect the instructions of the Host State(s) with respect to quarantine. Modalities of work or leave during the access prohibition are defined by the employer.
  • Comply with the regulations  applicable in the Host States with respect to arrival or return from a country/area identified as a high-risk for COVID-19 infection for any activities outside CERN.