On Wednesday this week, a suspected case of Influenza A (H1N1) was identified in the ITER Headquarters Building. This is no reason to panic. Work activity will continue as normal, but monitoring and prevention measures will be increased in anticipation of further incidents which could affect the functioning of the ITER Organization.
That is why on Wednesday evening we rolled out Phase A of what we call the Continuity Plan focusing on early detection, notification and response. We have informed the staff and all our collaborators in the Domestic Agencies about the situation by sending out a communiqué and by setting up a dedicated webpage where it is possible to consult answers to frequently asked questions. A special Pandemic Correspondent was appointed who will take care of all inquiries during working hours.
As a first precautionary measure, we are cancelling all large gatherings and I am sorry to say that our monthly lunch-time party "Happy Friday" will be one of the first victims of this measure. Whether we will have to take further regulatory steps will depend on the development of the situation here at ITER.
Be assured that we are in close contact with the French authorities to make sure that all ITER staff and their families will have access, when it is available, to free vaccination in case that this should be needed.
I would like to remind everyone that the World Health Organization and other similar bodies recommend careful personal hygiene as the most effective way to reduce risk of infection. This includes washing your hands frequently (please make use of the antibacterial gel that has been provided throughout the different buildings), covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with people — this includes handshaking and kissing! These measures will help keep us all healthy and limit the spread of infection. return to Newsline #98