WHO investigating minor cluster outbreak among staff

147th session of the WHO Executive Board, Geneva, Switzerland, 22 May 2020 (de minimis).The 147th session of the Executive Board was held virtually on Friday 22 May 2020.

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had 65 coronavirus infections among its staff at the organisation’s Geneva headquarters since the start of the pandemic and said that a possible small cluster of cases was under investigation.

The WHO technical lead for COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said that five WHO staff members had tested positive in the past week, adding: “All are doing well, all have had mild disease or (are) asymptomatic.” 

Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, said that the Swiss cantons of Geneva, where the U.N. health agency is based, and the adjoining Vaud canton have “some of the most intense transmission in the world right now.” 

“To my knowledge the cluster being investigated is the first evidence of potential transmission on the site of WHO, but we can’t completely protect ourselves from our own social and other engagements with family and school and so many other things,” he said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus returned from quarantine after being identified as a contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Upon his return, Tedros said “I was okay, no symptoms. It’s day 17 now. I followed the protocols. Because of no symptoms and also the full follow-up of the protocol, I didn’t see the need for testing. I can assure you that I’m okay and actually very, very busy.”