Prevention and Security Measures against the Corona Virus

Prevention and Security Measures against the Corona Virus

Information and safety instructions for all scientists, employees and guests at MPQ

To further contain the spread of the Corona virus and to protect the health and safety of our employees the following measures are currently in place.

*this website is constantly updated.

Travelling to designated risk areas and in general

Since April 10, the Robert Koch Institute no longer declares risk areas as the entire globe is now infected by the virus. An infection risk exists in Germany as well as in a vast number of regions elsewhere. The Federal Foreign Office in Germany has therefore issued a global travel warning, which is still in effect at the present time. 

At MPQ, all international business trips remain ineligible for approval. Booked trips should be cancelled. For exemptions please consult your direct supervisor. 

Business trips inside Germany should be reduced to an absolute minimum. If nonetheless travelling can't be avoided, try to make use of company vehicles. In this case please contact the the administration secretariat, Mrs Schmidt.

Attendance at the institute and home office

In accordance with the recommendations given by the MPG, all staff members at the MPQ – including doctoral students – shall continue their work from home office if possible. Thus, all employees, both researchers and administrative staff, are asked to examine whether they can shift their activities to home office and do so, wherever possible. Please contact your direct supervisor. If you have technical difficulties or questions please get in touch with the IT department, which will remain staffed with a minimum of one person on site. 

The recommendation to work from home applies especially to those colleagues who are considered a "risk group" and therefore need special protection. According to the Robert Koch Institute, these are in particular older people and those with certain pre-existing conditions and suppressed immune systems. The President of the MPG has therefore decided that all employees who belong to one of these risk groups will generally be granted home office status on request, provided that they are known to belong to the health risk groups and/or are at least 60 years old. 

For departments, whose tasks can't be shifted to home office and/or whose attendance on site is crucial for the institute: Please form rotating teams and take turns with your team members. Please seek the advise from your direct supervisor. This rule especially applies to departments in the administration, employees in technical support and the mechanical workshop. In those cases, it must be ensured that offices are occupied by only one person at a time and that in other areas a minimum distance of two meters is maintained between workplaces to keep the risk of infection as low as possible.

All labs should operate in a reduced manner only. Only one team of two people at a time per 40m² lab floor. Also, these teams should operate in rotation. 

Home office activities also include writing a publication or dissertation. Employees - especially PhDs - should make use of this possibility.

Employees should only return to the institute from the home office as far as it is operationally necessary, for example, to carry out experimental work that cannot be postponed.

Returnees from risk areas

Everybody who recently returned from trips should remain at home for the following two weeks. We encourage working from home during this period wherever possible. If this isn't possible or you feel uncertain please reach out to human ressources (Nina Kilgus or Elisabeth Limmer) to discuss any further actions.

Psychological support

The Corona pandemic is an extraordinary situation that among other things causes psychological distress. The danger of infection from a novel virus and the racing and unpredictable dynamic of developments, both leading to immense limitations in personal freedom may implicate personal insecurities and pose challenges to the human psyche. We wish to support our employees and help to reduce and process any distress they may perceive. Therefore, we emphasize the possibility to make use of psychological guidance from our coach Shadi Nouyan. Meetings with her can be conducted without any risks of infection via phone or video. Every employee is free to arrange a meeting in complete anonymity and independence of the institute. All meetings are under high confidentiality between employee and coach, and financially covered by the institute.   

Contact details are as followed:

Shadi Nouyan 

training, beratung und coaching

Lillweg 8 - 80939 München                                                   

phone      + 49 (0) 89  - 123 084 02

mobile  + 49 (0) 179 - 11 55 618

If you feel like learning more about the topic, here are some initial sources we can recommend:

Harvard University:

CNN Health:

World Health Organization (WHO):

German Federal Ministry for Health:


Due to the current closing of day nurseries and schools, many households experience difficulties in child care. The following options are available at the moment:

  • Take annual leave
  • Move to Home Office
  • Reduce overhours or move working hours to later or earlier in the day
  • Take unpaud leave

In all those cases, where parents can't work from home and also have no other option for child care then to stay home themselves, the Max Planck Society is able to offer a special solution. In this case, is it possible to exempt employees from their work whilst maintaining payment. Please get in touch with your supervisor in case you need to make use of this option. 

Unfortunately, due to infection protection and safety reasons it is currently not possible to bring children to the institute. Although the buildings meet the highest standards of occupational safety, but are not designed for the safety of children. The family office is also currently closed.

Events and meetings

All conferences and symposia at MPQ must be cancelled until further notice. The Photonlab (students' lab) also remains closed, and there won't be any visitor tours. The Girls Day on 26th of March was cancelled.

The colloquia this summer semester will only be held online. For every lecture a new link will be provided. As always there will be time for questions after every talk.

Code of conduct in the institute

The corona virus Covid-19 is highly contagious. It is therefore particularly important to strictly follow hygiene measures. We have distributed disinfectants throughout the institute. A dispenser for hand disinfection is available in the entrance area, which should be used with every entrance to the institute. Recommendations on best practice hygiene measures are shown in the infographic and should be followed closely. Please wash you hands every time you enter or leave a lab or office, before touching any items, and after every coughing and sneezing. Try to avoid touching your face. On top of that we ask you to use desinfectants to clean surfaces and keyboards wherever possible. 

Cover nose and mouth: Since April 28, 2020, a general obligation to cover mouth and nose inside the Institute is in place. This rule applies to all areas of the institute, including work in the laboratories, except when people are alone in laboratories and offices. The mask may only be taken off then and during meals. We provide all employees with a mask, which they can pick up at the gate in the morning. Always disinfect your hands before touching and putting on a mask. We currently have enough masks in stock to provide employees at the institute with a new mask every day. Nevertheless, we welcome employees bringing their own masks.

We are now also able to provide individual mouth-nose-protection, which can be collected in the goods receiving department. The masks need to be assembled before they can be put on. Therefore they allow individual adaption to different face forms. The masks are at disposal from now on in units of five or one. A detailed instruction on how to set up the mask can be found here:

Important note: Don't misjudge the safety of masks. The virus can still be transmitted if the distance rules are no longer observed. For maximum protection, keep your distance and wear masks.

Distance regulations: Keep your distance to other people, at least 1.5 metres better two metres if you are talking to people. It is perfectly okay and desired to keep others at a distance during meetings! This is our new rule of politeness in dealing with each other. You should refrain from "shaking hands" when greeting people.

Meetings: Meetings with more than five people are prohibited. Use video conferencing facilities (Zoom/Skype/DFNconf) to hold team meetings. Avoid direct contact wherever possible. Meetings may only be held with colleagues at the institute without external guests.

Cafeteria operation/lunch break: The canteen is equipped in such a way that a lunch break will be possible there while keeping a safety distance of two meters. Markings on the floor and on the tables also indicate the required distances. Please make sure you adhere to these guidelines. Cutlery will only be handed out by canteen staff in compliance with hygiene regulations. Please spread out for lunch over the institute, especially in the communication zone and in the small meeting room next to the Herbert-Walther lecture hall or use the opportunity to eat at your workplace. Use the disinfection facilities in front of the canteen before each meal.


All visits from guests and researchers are to be postponed until further notice. For exemptions please talk to your supervisor.

Symptoms of illness

All people who experience symptoms of illness or a feeling of discomfort typical of a cold are encouraged to stay at home and should either call in sick, or if less drastic, work from home. In case of a flu-like illness, a sick note must be made. In order not to increase the risk of infection in medical practices, the first medical consultation should be made via phone. In any of those cases the institute should stay informed about  further developments and courses of illness. Contacts are listed on the right.

If any acute symptoms occur during working hours or whilst being present at MPQ, the institute is to be informed immediately. For these purposes an emergency room (C 2.69) has been set upwhere employees can withdraw and, if necessary, put on protective masks until further action, such as transport at home or medical consultation have been taken.

In order to keep track on how many people are currently either sick, in (self) quarantine and/or home office, we ask the team assistants to collect this information and submit it on a weekly basis (every Friday) to the head of administration. 

Informing the Institute

Please contact the institute immediately if any of the above cases eventuates. The same holds if you feel unsure about any of the situations above and require assistance. The institute is also to be kept informed on a regular basis on any cases of illness and/or abstinence from the workplace.


Here you can find all information for employees, researchers and guests of the Max Planck Society in greater detail and always up-to-date. more

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