The WHO chief spoke from his first day in quarantine Monday after coming in contact with someone with Covid-19. But, the organisation said, he does not need to be tested for now.
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 Organization 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.
WHO warns it’s ‘not too late’ to take critical action
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some countries in Europe and North America presented leaders with a “critical moment for action”.
“This is another critical moment for action,” he said. “Another critical moment for leaders to step up. And another critical moment for people to come together for a common purpose. Seize the opportunity, it’s not too late.”
Tedros was addressing a regular WHO news briefing in Geneva from self-isolation at home after announcing on Twitter that he had been in contact with a person infected with Covid-19.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coronavirus coverage with me, Helen Sullivan. As always, I am on Twitter @helenrsullivan should you wish to say Hello.
Speaking from quarantine after being confirmed as a contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some countries in Europe and North America presented leaders with a “critical moment for action”.
France’s reported a record 52,518 new Covid-19 on Monday and the number of people hospitalised with the disease rose by more than a 1,000 for the fourth time in eight days, as the pandemic showing no signs of abating despite a new lockdown.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- Portugal considering state of emergency to tackle Covid-19. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he is pondering declaring a state of emergency as a preventive measure to fight the spread of the coronavirus at a time when infections are soaring.Hours after Prime Minister Antonio Costa asked the president to declare the state of emergency, Rebelo de Sousa said in an interview with RTP Television he was considering the request, explaining it would include specific measures to combat the pandemic but not a “total or nearly total” lockdown.
- Italy’s coronavirus strategy is ‘wasting time’, says scientific advisor. Italy is working towards measures that could include a national 9pm curfew, a ban on inter-regional travel and the closure of shopping malls at weekends. But scientists have for weeks been urging the government to take tougher action, such as imposing local lockdowns, as infections escalate and hospitals come under strain.
- Slovakia carries out Covid mass testing of two-thirds of population. Two-thirds of Slovakia’s population of 5.4 million people were tested for coronavirus over the weekend as part of a programme aimed at making it one of the first countries to test its entire population.
- Germany begins ‘light lockdown’. Germany goes into “lockdown light” mode today, as the country’s disease control agency recorded 12,097 new confirmed Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Bars, cinemas, theatres, museums, fitness studios and swimming pools will remain closed from today, while cafes and restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway food only. Meetings in public are restricted to two households and no more than 10 people. Unlike during the first lockdown in the spring, schools and nurseries will stay open.
- Coronavirus infections fall for third day straight in the Netherlands. The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by nearly 8,300 over the past 24 hours, the slowest pace in roughly two weeks.
- Iran reports record high Covid death toll as travel bans go into force. Iran reported a record 440 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing the country’s death toll to 35,738 as a ban on travel in and out of major cities came into force.
- Donald Trump tries to stoke fears of Covid lockdown under Joe Biden. In the final hours before election day, one of Trump’s closing messages to Americans was an exaggerated threat: that a Joe Biden presidency will result in a national Covid-19 lockdown. Speaking in Iowa on Sunday, the president said the election was a “choice between a deadly Biden lockdown … or a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.
- The European Union (EU) has agreed to provide Mozambique with 100 million euros ($116.30 million) in coronavirus-related aid. The EU cut off direct budget support to Mozambique in 2016 after the country revealed the existence of hefty state-guaranteed loans that it had not previously disclosed.
- T-cell Covid immunity ‘present in adults six months after first infection’. Cellular (T-cell) immunity against the virus that causes Covid-19 is likely to be present within most adults six months after primary infection, with levels considerably higher in patients with symptoms, a study suggests.