IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS SARS-COV-2
On this page, you will find all the current information on SCK CEN’s measures to remain operational during the coronavirus crisis and to prevent the virus from spreading.
Relaxing the measures is a first step towards a normalized existence. As part of a national restart, health remains our absolute priority. We have adjusted our operations to the specific COVID-19 measures in order to ensure business continuity. We go the extra mile: our production units and service provision will therefore remain fully operational.
Last website update: 06/05/2020 - 14.30 pm
SCK CEN remains 100% operational
On 18 March 2020, a ministerial decree was published in the Belgian Official Journal containing the government’s urgent measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The decree listed nuclear and radiologic sector activities, such as the production of radioisotopes, as essential services. Guaranteed operations at SCK CEN are therefore important.
SCK CEN is a major global radioisotope supplier and a pioneering nuclear service provider. Our production units and corporate activities currently remain fully operational. In addition, we have taken additional measures for critical services such as radioisotope production for hospitals to guarantee mid-term continuity.
Our business continuity is only possible thanks to our motivated staff who show unrelenting commitment in this crisis. To each of you working in our labs, at the office or at home: thank you for your input and flexibility.
Measures & impact on visitors/suppliers
The SCK CEN management team confirms that the research site in Mol remains physically accessible even in these exceptional conditions. SCK CEN guarantees maximum security to its own staff and to visitors by implementing stringent guidelines against the spread of COVID-19.
The following measures, in accordance with the federal measures, are being enforced:
Measures for external visitors/suppliers
- All visits, training courses and events scheduled until 1 June 2020 have been suspended or postponed until further notice. Some training sessions will be held online; all participants will be notified in person;
- Access to our essential facilities has been reinforced. Only the persons whose presence is crucial will be allowed;
- The canteen and Lakehouse (guest house/restaurant) have been closed preventively. Exceptional access for suppliers can be discussed on a case-by-case basis;
- For the time being, no new internships or scientific visits will be initiated by SCK CEN. New internships will resume from September 2020. Internships that are already underway will go on where possible.
- In order to spread presence on the work floor, we extend the measures related to teleworking and flexible working hours until 31 May. Employees are allowed to work between 6 am and 8 pm. This means that your contact person may not be available as quickly as they used to. You may send urgent questions via the contact form underneath. We will process this form as soon as possible.
- Cleaning operations have increased significantly. Thorough cleaning, frequent disinfection of door handles and office materials, and cleaning and ventilating meeting rooms after each meeting have become mandatory;
- For shared spaces on site (meeting rooms, company cars, etc.), cleaning materials will be supplied. This will enable you to clean often used surfaces quickly and continuously.
In addition, we obviously follow the general guidelines, including washing your hands frequently, avoiding non-essential trips, virtual meetings by default, and respecting a minimum of 1.5 m social distance. If the nature of an activity prevents it, we implement additional individual measures to guarantee safety.
Increasing testing capacity
The coronavirus keeps on spreading in Belgium and there is an increasing need for testing capacity. A special Task Force led by minister Philippe De Backer aims at expanding the currently available national testing capacity as quickly as possible. Belgian laboratories, universities, the pharmaceutical sector and biotech companies are cooperating closely in this regard. SCK CEN is also contributing to this project. Our qPCR equipment was handed over to the Task Force on 30 March 2020. In doing so, SCK CEN is contributing to the national effort to increase testing capacity in Belgium from 2,000 to 10,000 tests per day.
Our own mask supplies
The whole of Belgium has started sewing, as has SCK CEN. Our employees have joined forces to produce mouth masks in an effort to alleviate acute shortages in the healthcare sector. Our mouth mask specifications were approved by our occupational physicians and the ISPPW. Our masks go to our own workplace, where colleagues are still working hard. In this way, we produce our own mask supplies and reduce the number of additional orders for personal protection equipment from external suppliers. Also, SCK CEN produced hand sanitizer for employees.