A suspected epidemic outbreak at WHO headquarters in Geneva

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus elbow bumps Isabelle Moret, president of the Swiss National Council (Photo: Keystone / Martial Trezzini)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is experiencing an outbreak of coronavirus among its staff, an internal email obtained by the Associated Press shows.

According to the American press agency, five people were recently tested positive for Covid-19 within the organisation, including four within the same team present at the Geneva headquarters. 

A member of WHO management, a specialist in infection prevention and control, is believed to be among the identified cases. An internal investigation is underway to determine whether these contaminations, confirmed by the WHO to AP , have taken place in the workplace.

Why this is notable. The WHO is one of the first institutions in Switzerland to have established significant infection risk control measures, with the wearing of a mask and strict compliance with barrier measures. Until recently, no outbreak had been reported to the Geneva headquarters. But among its 2,400 employees, the organisation has a number of professionals who are very exposed by their activity, or simply because of the high viral circulation in the canton. 

In total, 65 cases have been recorded at the WHO headquarters since the start of the epidemic, including 32 working face-to-face and the others working from home.

AP said a WHO spokesperson confirmed the accuracy of the information about the case count in an email to the AP and that officials were still investigating.

Read the original article on the Associated Press website