Coronavirus: information, measures and recommendations

Last updated: 1 April 2020 (Wednesday)

The coronavirus COVID-19 situation is quickly evolving in many countries and CERN is adapting accordingly. CERN is now in Stage 3 (see below) and, as a result, since 20 March activities on-site are limited to those essential for the safety and security of the site and equipment.

Our highest priority continues to be to protect the health and well-being of all people on site and those working from home. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for CERN personnel, in particular, Departmental and Group Administrative Officers and supervisors, are available on a dedicated page (CERN login required).

This page will be updated regularly.

Information and contact numbers

Last updated: 30 March 2020

Full and regularly updated information can be found from the following sources:

HR-related questions:

·         If you have a question related to your contractual situation at CERN or another HR-related matter, given the high number of questions coming in please first consult this extensive FAQ.

·         If you cannot find your answer in this FAQ, please submit your question to Your query will be answered as soon as possible, and within 24 hours, between 9h00 and 12h00, and 13h30 and 17h00 each working day. Please be mindful that owing to the large volume of questions, a delay in answering may occur and we thank you for your understanding in this context.


·         You can reach UNIQA by telephone on +41 22 718 63 00 or by sending a message to: uniqa@cern.chfor administrative questions.

·         For urgent medical assistance, you may call UNIQA Assistance +41 22 819 44 77, 24h/day

Availability of CERN services:

For information on the services that are being provided across CERN during this period, and the level at which they are functioning, please consult this dashboard.

The dashboard is regularly updated as the status of services become available.

In addition:

·         Active SMB services, including catering, hospitality, mobility, cleaning, logistics, mail and access control”

·         Active HSE services available

 Medical emergencies and advice

If you present any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, do not go directly to the hospital, your general practitioner, or the Medical Service (if at CERN). Instead, call the appropriate emergency number (below) for advice.

Members of CERN personnel who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected cases (i.e. having possible COVID-19 symptoms but untested) are requested to inform the Medical Service (


Location Emergency/advice Information
CERN +41 22 767 4444 (24 hours) +41 22 766 7777 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Switzerland 🇨🇭 144 (24 hours) +41 58 463 0000 (24 hours)
France 🇫🇷 15 (24 hours)
If you don’t speak French, call the CERN number above.
+33 800 130 000 (24 hours)

Information hotlines are also available in the Cantons of Geneva (08 00 909 400, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.) and Vaud (08 00 316 800, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.). A Swiss information hotline for travellers is also available at: +41 58 464 4488 (between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.).

Summary of measures for the CERN community

Last updated: 30 March 2020

  • Free of charge offer of meals for CERN members of personnel working on-site [More info]
  • CERN against COVID task force set up [More info]
  • Travel restrictions in Switzerland and France[More info]
  • Teleworking for CERN staff, fellows, students and trainees, locally and away from the region. [More info]
⚠️ Other measures [tap to toggle] ↕
  • Access restrictions to CERN sites [More info]
  • Access to CERN sites by persons aged over 65 is restricted to those considered essential for critical on-site activities. [More info]
  • People with vulnerabilities must not come on CERN sites. [More info]
  • Travel on behalf of CERN is suspended [More info]
  • All CERN Clubs activities on sites are suspended. [More info]
  • The CERN Exhibitions and the CERN Shop will be close. [More info]
  • Several Teacher Programmes have been cancelled [More info]

Quick links

CERN against COVID-19 task force

Last updated: 1 April 2020

The CERN Directorate has established the CERN against COVID-19 group to channel ideas and initiatives from the CERN community that may support the collective global fight against COVID-19. The objective of CERN against COVID-19 is to ensure an effective and well-coordinated response, drawing on CERN’s many competencies so as to maximise our impact.

CERN against COVID-19 is coordinated by Beniamino Di Girolamo (CERN, ATS-DO). Members are Giovanni Anelli (CERN, IPT-KT), Gianluigi Arduini (CERN, BE-ABP), Kirsten Baxter (DG-LS), Ian Bird (CERN, IT-SC), Themis Bowcock (University of Liverpool, LHCb), David Challoin (SMB-SC), Paolo Chiggiato (CERN, TE-VSC), Manuela Cirilli (IPT-KT), Alberto Di Meglio (CERN, IT-DI), Freidemann Eder (IR-REL), Cédric Garino (CERN, SMB-SC), James Gillies (CERN, IR-SPE), Massimo Giovannozzi (BE-ABP), Beate Heinemann (DESY, ATLAS), André Henriques (CERN, HSE-OHS), David Lange (Princeton University, CMS), Diego Perini (CERN, EN-MME), Marco Van Leeuwen (NIKHEF, ALICE), Tim Smith (IT-CDA) and Maarten Wilbers (DG-LS).

Others are  called in for specific aspects according to need.

Proposals and ideas can be sent to

COVID-19 cases at CERN

Last updated: 24 March 2020

To date, CERN has information of a small number of members of its personnel who have either tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or are suspected cases (i.e. having possible COVID-19 symptoms but untested). CERN is in contact with all of these individuals and follows the evolution of their health. Whenever CERN is informed of a tested or suspected case, we apply procedures to quickly identify and follow up with the individual’s close professional contacts in order to ensure their well-being and self-quarantine, with a view to safeguarding their health, as well as that of the communities they are in.

Hygiene measures

Last updated: 20 March 2020

Everybody has a responsibility to contribute to the effort of reducing the spread of the COVID-19 infection. You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Respect the recommended hygiene measures;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (please note that soap and water is more effective);
  • Do not get in close contact with other people. Respect social distancing. In particular, no hand shaking or embracing (close contact is defined by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Heath as being closer than 2 metres for over 15 minutes);
  • Measure your body temperature up to twice per day. If you have fever, i.e. your temperature is above 38 °C, stay home;
  • If you are ill, irrespective of the symptoms, stay home. Do not go directly to the hospital or your general practitioner, but call the relevant numbers. Stay home for a further 48 hours after the symptoms subside;
  • If you feel unwell while at CERN, stop your activity immediately, go home and call the relevant numbers;
  • Persons aged over 65 and/or with pre-existing conditions: cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes diseases or treatments that weaken the immune system and high blood pressure are particularly vulnerable and should take extra precautions to avoid situations of contact with others;
  • Do not use public transport at peak times if at all possible.

For more detailed information on how to protect yourself and others, visit the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

Measures for CERN personnel

Applicable to staff, fellows, users, students, trainees and all other associated members of personnel.

• Free of charge offer of meals for CERN members of personnel working on-site

Last updated: 30 March 2020

Due to the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 epidemic, CERN Management has decided to offer free of charge daily meals to all members of personnel working on-site. This service will be provided by Restaurant 1 (B. 501). Meal requests should be made here.

Access restrictions to CERN sites 

Last updated: 24 March 2020

Since activities on the CERN sites have been restricted to those concerning essential safety and security tasks, access to the sites (fenced domain) has been temporarily suspended for all personnel and contractors, irrespective of status, except for those that have been explicitly approved by their respective Department Heads. 

For urgent and unforeseen on-site interventions, teams called by the CERN Control Centre shall be given temporary access.


Last updated: 17 March 2020

As of 20 March at the latest, the majority of CERN staff, fellows, students and trainees will be on extended teleworking, as an exceptional measure.

CERN’s preference is that employed members of personnel remain in the local region whilst teleworking. This is for their safety and healthcare, as well as capacity to return to work on short notice once the situation permits. Due to the extraordinary circumstance of the COVID-19 epidemic, members of personnel may choose to go elsewhere for personal reasons; in this case any accidents during travel or telework cannot be considered to be professional in nature.

For students on shorter term contracts we fully understand if they wish to return home, and Human Resources (HR) are working on appropriate solutions which include continuing work for a period on tele-work where possible, and/or re-visiting the duration of the contract with CERN if appropriate. Students who wish to consider these options should discuss with their supervisor who will be in contact with HR.

Members of personnel should discuss their particular situation with their hierarchy. For situations where telework is not possible appropriate special leave will be put in place.

Associated members of personnel are strongly encouraged to investigate the possibility of teleworking with their Institute.

Travel restrictions in Switzerland and France

Last updated: 31 March 2020

Travel within France

Travel within France is allowed only under the conditions described in this document. In order to travel, the certificate of special dispensation (attestation de déplacement dérogatoire) must be filled out on paper (printed out or hand-written, a digital version will not be accepted). A separate form needs to be used for each day for each activity. You must carry official ID with you alongside the special dispensation. Those without this documentation will be fined 135 euros.

Travel within Switzerland

Travel within Switzerland is strongly discouraged, but is as yet unrestricted. Strict measures for public gatherings have been put in place: gatherings in public spaces of more than five people are prohibited. If five or fewer people meet, they must maintain a distance of 2 metres from one another. Anyone not complying with this rule will be fined. 

Border crossings

  • Entering Switzerland: The Swiss authorities have restricted entry to Switzerland for people travelling from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Entrance into Switzerland will only be allowed to Swiss citizens, holders of a residence permit in Switzerland, and persons with a certified professional reason for entering Switzerland*. People will be allowed to enter Switzerland in the event of emergencies, in particular medical emergencies. According to current information, crossing the border for medical examinations is possible upon presentation of a written certificate, to be requested from a health professional.

*For anyone who is unable to print at home, a computer and printer are available at all times at the entrance to the Prévessin site and in building 55, to print the CERN attestation for exceptional access to the site.

    For up-to-date information on the measures in Switzerland, follow:

    • Entering France: The French authorities have restricted entry into France to travellers with valid identification, who are entering France to reach their home, and who are: citizens (and their families) of the European Union, the Schengen area (which includes Switzerland), or the United Kingdom. Citizens of other countries will not be able to enter France for the time being, apart from exceptional cases, e.g., if they are permanent residents in France.

    For up-to-date information on measures in France, follow:

    People with vulnerabilities

    Last updated: 13 March 2020

    Part of CERN’s duty of care is to protect the health of persons with vulnerabilities. According to expert advice there are two categories of particularly vulnerable people. These are persons over 65 years old and persons with existing pre-conditions.

    • People over 65: For those persons aged over 65, access to the CERN sites will only be permitted if their activity is deemed essential for strategic or operational reasons, in which case it should be approved by the relevant Department Heads or the Spokespersons of the experiments.
    • People under 65 with vulnerabilities: Persons under 65 with vulnerabilities (i.e., persons with any of these pre-existing conditions: cancer; cardiovascular diseases; chronic respiratory diseases; diabetes; diseases or treatments that weaken the immune system; high blood pressure) must not come on CERN site. They should declare by email to their supervisor that they fall into this category and enter telework in EDH. If this is not possible, they should exchange with their DAO who will enter the relevant absence in EDH.

    Duty travel

    Last updated: 10 March 2020

    All travel on behalf of CERN, including mission orders and external training courses, is suspended as of 11 March until further notice. This restriction applies also to travel that has already been approved. Travel on behalf of CERN will only be permitted if it is essential for strategic or operational reasons, in which case it requires approval by the relevant Department Heads or the Spokespersons of the experiments. Travel by staff and fellows to perform professional activities at other institutions is suspended.

    •  Meetings for personnel still working on CERN sites

    Last updated: 25 March 2020

    Social distance of two metres minimum must be respected at all meetings. It is the responsibility of the meeting organizers to track identity of attendees so that contacts may be traced should a case arise. Meetings should be held remotely as much as possible (video conferencing, telephone, etc.).

    Activities of CERN Clubs

    Last updated: 10 March 2020

    CERN’s Staff Association will suspend all CERN Club activities carried out on the CERN site as of 11 March and recommends that Club activities off-site be minimised, so as to limit the risk of the possible spreading of the virus as much as possible. 

    Information for the public

    Last updated: 10 March 2020

    The following precautionary measures have been taken to minimise the risk of spreading the infection both on CERN sites and externally:

    • Guided tours of CERN have been cancelled until further notice;
    • All public events in the Globe have been cancelled until further notice;
    • The CERN exhibitions and CERN shop have been closed until further notice.

    Information for teachers and students

    Last updated: 10 March 2020

    • The CERN Teacher programmes scheduled between March and May have been cancelled.
    • Masterclasses for local schools have also been cancelled. 

    CERN's COVID-19 response team

    The CERN's COVID-19 response team, set up in February 2020 (involving senior management from across the Organization, as well as health, safety and other relevant experts) is in constant contact with the relevant Host States authorities (among others, the Federal Office of Public Health in Switzerland, the Ministry of Health in France), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other intergovernmental organisations in Geneva with globally-mobile communities. 

    CERN’s Epidemic Preparedness plan and response against COVID-19 defines three stages of increasing severity, aligned with the three stages of development that the expert health authorities have identified.

    • Stage 1: Alert of the spreading of the virus by WHO.
    • Stage 2: A Host-State declares part of its territory, distant from CERN (not Geneva, Vaud, Ain or Haute-Savoie), as affected or threatened by an outbreak of COVID-19. The objective in this phase is to prevent and limit the spread of the virus.
    • Stage 3: The virus circulates widely in the area in which CERN is located, including at CERN itself.


    ⚠️ Summary of the actions taken by CERN for each stage [tap to toggle] ↕ Stage 1: From January 21 to March 8
    • Creation of a dedicated website to inform CERN personnel and visitors about the situation
    • Hygiene measures and social distancing
    • Clearance needed for official travels
    • Self-isolation for people and children coming from "risk zones"
    • Guided tours cancelled as of March 3
    Stage 2: From March 9 to March 15, triggered by the first confirmed case of Covid-19 at CERN Measures taken: As of 9 March:
    • Official travels suspended
    • Self-isolation for people and children coming from "risk zones"
    • Meeting with more than 100 people cancelled, remote connection encouraged for meeting with less than 100 people
    As of 11 March:
    • CERN Clubs activities suspended
    • CERN Exhibitions and CERN Shop closed
    • Set up of a helpline with Medical Service
    Stage 3: From March 16 until further notice Measures taken:
    • Telework for all CERN employees if the function allows
    • Access to CERN site by users and visiting scientists restricted to those whose activities are essential. People above 65 or with health problems can't access the site


    Past updates available on this page.

    Medical Service