COVID-19: EASO implements further measures to ensure well-being of staff and stakeholders

  • 16th March 2020

In light of the rapidly evolving spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) over the past few days, as of Monday, 16 March 2020, all non-critical European Asylum Support Office (EASO) staff members have begun teleworking. The measures were implemented through a fifth Executive Director Decision (EDD) to be adopted by EASO’s Executive Director, Ms. Nina Gregori, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

The teleworking measures are provisionally to last until 27 March 2020, but could be extended depending on how the situation evolves. In line with EASO’s contingency planning, staff performing critical tasks remain present in EASO’s Malta headquarters, as well as in EASO’s operations in Cyprus, Greece and Malta, in order to assure business continuity. In Italy, all staff, including management, are teleworking.

To date, the measures adopted by the Executive Director include:

  • Establishment of COVID-19 Response Team;
  • Increased frequency and thoroughness of the cleaning of EASO premises and working environments;
  • Cancellation of all missions, scheduled meetings, training sessions and other activities being organised by EASO;
  • Flexible utilisation of teleworking (prior to latest teleworking measure) in order to ensure that vulnerable staff, or staff who have travelled to high-risk countries, are not present in the office;
  • All non-critical staff teleworking;
  • Daily updates to all staff in order to ensure full transparency on developments, including dedicated space on EASO’s intranet.

The latest EDD, combined with the above-mentioned measures, mean that while the Agency is making every effort to minimise the disruption to its business, several activities may be delayed. With regard to EASO’s operational support to the asylum authorities in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta, in light of the measures being taken by the respective national authorities, together with EASO’s duty-of-care obligations, activities have also been restricted.

There have been no reported cases of EASO staff members who have tested positive for the virus.

The Executive Director, together with the EASO COVID-19 Response Team, are closely monitoring developments throughout Europe, including following the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the national authorities where EASO is present, as well as the European Commission.

EASO will take any further actions as necessary in order to minimise disruption to its core business while ensuring the well-being of its staff. In this regard, the Executive Director has expressed her gratitude for the dedication and flexibility being shown by colleagues in this challenging period.