WHO chief quarantined but not tested for Covid-19

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation.
@WHO, Twitter
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Twitter that he would be self-quarantining for two weeks.
  • He said he was well and without symptoms.
  • WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said there was no requirement for Ghebreyesus to get tested unless he started feeling sick.


The WHO chief began a first day in quarantine Monday after coming in contact with someone with Covid-19, but does not need to be tested for now, the organisation said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced late Sunday on Twitter that he would be self-quarantining for the next two weeks, after someone he had been in contact with tested positive for the deadly virus.

"I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine in the coming days, in line with WHO protocols," he told a virtual press briefing, speaking from his home.

"At this time, it is critically important that we all comply with health guidance," he said.

"This is how we will break chains of transmission, suppress the virus, and protect health systems."

Speaking from Tedros's usual perch in the World Health Organisation headquarters in Geneva, emergencies director Michael Ryan told reporters there was no requirement for the UN agency's leader to get tested unless he started feeling sick.

"His testing will depend on the arrival of symptoms or otherwise and he may be tested in the days to come," he said, stressing though that WHO's "current protocol doesn't require that he be tested."

"He is at home, in quarantine and as you can see very well, working away and continuing to do his job in supporting the world."

Ryan stressed that WHO's internal procedures to reduce the risk of infection were good.

'Robust risk management' 

The agency, he said, has "in place strong and robust risk management mechanisms in order to reduce transmission within the building and to manage that transmission should it occur."

He said most staff were working from home, but for those who came in there were temperature checks upon arrival at the WHO headquarters, and they were required to submit a self-declaration of health status every day.

ALSO READ | WHO warns 2 million virus deaths possible, Australia urges vaccine-sharing

Strict mask requirements and limits on the number of people permitted in offices and meeting rooms were also in place.

But he acknowledged that "there is no environment right now in the world that is without risk."

WHO staff "live in the community, their children go to local schools, we shop, we pray," he said, pointing out "we are subject to the same risks that exist in those communities."

Most WHO staff who had been infected since the start of the pandemic had been infected out in the community, he said.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on the pandemic, went further, saying that contract tracing showed that meanwhile said that "we haven't had any transmission take place on the premises. We have no clusters on the premises."

"But it is something we are monitoring every day," she said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When planning for the Black Friday sales do you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Save, research and plan ahead, preparing to make the most of it?
8% - 865 votes
Wait and see what looks like a good deal on the day?
14% - 1635 votes
Have no interest in spending more money this year?
78% - 8894 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.35
(-0.01)
ZAR/GBP
20.48
(+0.06)
ZAR/EUR
18.20
(+0.08)
ZAR/AUD
11.24
(-0.24)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.07)
Gold
1831.56
(-0.23)
Silver
23.49
(-0.07)
Platinum
935.00
(+0.92)
Brent Crude
45.51
(+2.15)
Palladium
2329.48
(+0.01)
All Share
57354.78
(+0.36)
Top 40
52665.15
(+0.36)
Financial 15
11452.78
(+1.01)
Industrial 25
80024.95
(+0.13)
Resource 10
51996.11
(+0.43)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo