Coronavirus: WHO head Tedros in quarantine after contact tests positive

He says he has no symptoms but is following the body’s guidelines to prevent the pathogen’s spread

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 11, 2020 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attending a press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.  The World Health Organization chief said late November 1, 2020, that he was self-quarantining after someone he had been in contact with tested positive for Covid-19, but stressed he had no symptoms. / AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI
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The World Health Organisation’s director general is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who was later found to have the coronavirus, but he says he has no symptoms.

“I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for #COVID19,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet late on Sunday.

“I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with @WHO protocols, and work from home,” he said.

Mr Tedros, 55, stressed on Twitter that “it is critically important that we all comply with health guidance”.

“This is how we will break chains of #COVID19 transmission, suppress the virus and protect health systems,” he said.

Covid-19 around the world

The former Ethiopian minister of health and foreign affairs has for months reiterated that each person has a role to play in halting the spread of the virus.

It has claimed more than 1.2 million lives and infected about 47 million people worldwide since being reported in China late last year.

The WHO urges all people to wear face masks when around others, wash their hands often and practise social distancing.

It calls on authorities at various levels to work to find, isolate, test and care for cases, then trace and quarantine their contacts.

His comments came as there is growing anger and exasperation over new coronavirus curbs.

In Europe, governments are desperate to stem the worrying spike in infections. Several countries wound back the clocks to the spring with new lockdowns and restrictions aimed at halting galloping infections and deaths.

The continent has registered more than 279,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Geneva, where the WHO is based, declared a new state of emergency on Sunday and said it would go beyond Swiss national measures and shut all bars, restaurants and non-essential shops.

Authorities in the city of about 500,000 people said the new measures were needed to stem surging cases – with more than 1,000 positive daily tests in recent days – and also ballooning numbers of Covid-19 patients in Geneva hospitals and emergency care units.

The health situation is also deteriorating in the US.

President Donald Trump is one of the harshest critics of the WHO and its leadership over the Covid-19 response.

Mr Trump is pulling the US out of the organisation, accusing it of being a puppet of China and of mismanaging its handling of the pandemic.