Coronavirus detected at UN headquarters in Geneva

US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — A member of the UN headquarters in Geneva became infected with the new coronavirus. This was announced on Saturday by the official representative of the UN office in Geneva, Alessandra Vellucci.

“In Geneva, in addition to the cases that were previously confirmed, information has now been received about a positive test for the disease COVID-19 (a disease caused by a new type of coronavirus – approx. ed.) of a colleague who worked at the Palais des Nations,” she said.

Currently, “medical professionals,” she added, are dealing with this case.

The UN branch medical service assured that since the patient was not present at the Palais des Nations on Friday, before that – while in his office – he had no symptoms, there should be “little concern” about the spread of the infection.

This is the first case of illness at an UN Geneva headquarters employee. “We take all possible precautions, and all colleagues who have recently had contact with this person are informed,” Vellucci said.

She said that the leadership of the UN office on Saturday decided on a special procedure for organizing work. In particular, from March 16, all employees will work “remotely if their physical presence in the building is not necessary to carry out significant activities.”

The new rules will affect the press. Journalists can be in the building “only for official business,” while public events with the participation of the media are “suspended.”

Briefings will be held in a much more spacious hall than before, so that those present were able to “sit at a sufficient distance from each other.” “We look forward to your cooperation in this difficult context,” Vellucci concluded.

Earlier, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health reported that 1359 cases of coronavirus infection were detected in the country. During the day, the number of infected increased by more than 200 people.

At present, 13 deaths are known. In Geneva, 107 cases and one fatal case were registered. According to local experts, Switzerland is one of the countries with the fastest growing incidence rate. The first coronavirus infection was detected in the Swiss Confederation on February 25.


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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.