In what is the most serious reaction yet to the coronavirus outbreak, Russian energy giant Gazprom has introduced restrictions on the work travel plans of its employees to any destination outside Russia, Obshtaya Gazeta reports.
The move is part of efforts to reduce the exposure of more than 470,000 Gazprom employees, although the company stopped short of mentioning the virus. All foreign business trips were canceled on March 2, and workers who returned from trips were ordered to see a doctor.
According to the state-controlled company, managers can still go on select business trips to foreign countries if they obtain a special permit from the department for corporate protection.
The same internal department sent a note to Gazprom’s employees recommending they limit personal travel outside Russia and visit a doctor if returning from such a trip, before returning to work.
RBK cited unidentified Gazprom sources as saying that, while personal travel outside Russia has not been banned, employees have to inform their superiors about their destinations.
The note from the department for corporate protection, however, has not directly mentioned the novel coronavirus — called Covid-19 — as a reason for the travel restriction, instead referring to a “difficult global epidemiological situation”.
The introduction of “corporate quarantine” in “Gazprom” is also reported by the Telegram channel “Gas Father”.
“Foreign business trips are canceled from March 2, except for the most important ones, which were specially agreed by the leadership. In private, it is not forbidden to travel abroad, but you must notify where you are going,” one of the employees said. The ban is introduced indefinitely, until further notice by management.