US State Department employees have been suspended from all non-essential travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, a State Department official and two other sources familiar told CNN.
One source said that a cable went out to all missions worldwide informing them that only mission critical travel is recommended and that diplomatic posts and State Department bureaus need to report travel.
Another source explained that the criteria for “mission critical” varies from country to country and it’s up to the chief of mission to interpret it. Previously planned trips by top State Department employees were postponed due to this new guidance, the State Department official said.
The official said that the State Department does not have any cases of coronavirus among its employees, but the department is preparing for that day to come.
Part of that preparation was a note sent to employees last week telling them to make sure their telework agreements were up to date.
If an employee at the main State Department building in Washington comes down with the virus, the plan would be to clear out the whole office, send everyone in the office home to self-quarantine and deep clean the office, the State Department official said.
Right now they do not plan to shut down the entire building if there is just one case but they would reassess if the outbreak spread at all, the official said.