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White House issues work travel restrictions for federal employees

(CNN) — The White House has notified federal departments and agencies that only “mission-critical” travel is recommended for federal employees at this time amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance, issued Saturday in a memo from the Office of Management and Budget, said agency and department heads are authorized to determine what travel meets the threshold. They are also advised to consider whether the purpose of travel is “to perform essential duties related to the protection of life and property” and whether meetings could be “alternatively conducted by phone or video conference,” among other factors.

Health officials have advised citizens to take precaution when traveling. On Saturday, President Donald Trump announced additional travel restrictions in Europe that include the United Kingdom and Ireland as the administration works to slow the spread of the virus.

Bloomberg was first to report the White House guidance for federal employees regarding travel.

On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to White House staff telling employees to “avoid physical contact” and advising them to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on practicing good hygiene.