Email obtained by AP: 65 WHO staff have virus, 1 cluster

GENEVA (AP) — In view of official statements made by the organization that no transmission has been carried out at the Geneva facility, The World Health Organisation has confirmed 65 coronavirus cases in the headquarters, including at least one cluster of infections, an internal email from The Associated Press.

The disclosure is in the midst of multiple cases in Europe, the host country of Switzerland, in particular the city of Geneva and about half of the infections in citizens from home employed.

Yet 32 workers had been employed on premises at the office house, suggesting the health department was not adequate to stop the pandemic through stringent sanitation, screening and other preventive steps.

The WHO head of company, Raul Thomas, emailed workers Friday to the extent that for COVID-19, there were a productive test of five individuals — four on the team and one communicating them.

Although the email does not use the word "cluster," one is commonly described as two or more cases in the same region and the five cases demonstrate a lack of simple infection management and social distancing processes.

On Oct. 16, he submitted a previous e-mail claiming that there were no clusters on the web.

"So these colleagues receive the necessary care according to standard protocols and are getting back home," said the e-mail Friday.

"From the outset of the pandemic, these last five cases have brought the total reported number of Geneva-based workers to 65."

The quality of details regarding the case count was verified in an e-mail from Farah Dakhlallah, a WHO spokeswife to the AP.

The email of Thomas did not say who was affected, but a WHO staff member who talked privately because she did not have the authorization to communicate with the press said that the cluster contained a member of the Leadership Committee of the WHO, who is also an infection management professional.

In early November, before checking favorably last week the Senior Manager allegedly had many personal meetings at the WHO.

Both feedback were sent to the WHO Media Office by the individual approached by the AP.

According to the email, in the last 8 weeks, 49 of the total cases were registered in line "in Geneva, and the surrounding areas." He added "a higher number of cases in telecommunications could have gone undeclared."

The email said that intensified intervention was deemed to "reduce our risk profile."

"Finally, employees are reminded to be strongly discouraged from physical meetings, including gatherings in public areas or cafes and only where necessary," he said.

In addition, restaurants in Geneva are among the various public spaces closed to avoid COVID-19 dissemination.

Thomas told the department last month that WHO staff will limit the access to important staff, including senior directors, assistants and executive officers, to its headquarters in Genève.

"To always keep the right hand hygiene, physical distance standards (at least one meter), and wear masks, all members of the workforce are reminded if distancing cannot be achieved," he added.

Normally, some 2,400 staff operate daily at the seven-story offices of the WHO with a view to Geneva.

The pandemic in the region has swelled, allowing workers to operate from home as frequently as possible.

Non-employed tourists had to wear masks and the building's access was limited.

And before last week's weeks of WHO members' conference, which was largely simulated, workers were advised to take more care in an internal email, including mask wearing in public spaces.

The last executive meeting of the organisation, mostly organized through video conferencing, was held in the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, from a large meeting space at the headquarters on Monday.

Since he came to meet a guy who checked positive, he returned home from a two week self-quarantine.

Since Tedros himself had no signs, the COVID-19 was not checked but he was held in the home out of caution.

On 2 November, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical leader for the COVID-19 response, told reporters at the headquarters there had been no transition or clusters until she said "But it's something we monitor every day."

In addition to two AP e-mails — on 2 November and 10 November — the WHO press office didn't react to how many workers at WHO headquarters checked COVID-19 positively.

From London, Cheng reported.