GENEVA

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that its chief has not yet tested for COVID-19, but that he is self-quarantining after making contact with a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In a twice-weekly webinar for the media from his home, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus answered few questions about his absence from the organization’s headquarters, mostly repeating what he had tweeted earlier about his self-isolation.

“I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” said Tedros, as he had tweeted.

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

The WHO chief said that it is critically important that all people comply with health guidance.

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

Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’S health emergencies program, said that the WHO’s ground protocols are that people determined to be contacts of a confirmed case are asked to quarantine for a necessary period.

“His testing will depend on the arrival of symptoms or otherwise, and he may be tested in the days to come.

“Our current protocols don’t require that he be tested.

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

Tedros admitted at a recent press webinar that he would be a high-risk case as he said he suffers from hypertension.

Along with his team, he has stressed that until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is found, the disease must be countered with a series of measures, not just one, but all of them.

These include the wearing of masks when in close contact with others, physical distancing, hand washing, and self-isolating when feeling ill, as well as testing and contact-tracing and avoiding large gatherings.

At Friday’s press webinar, he spoke of “how morally unconscionable and unfeasible the so-called ‘natural herd immunity’ strategy is.”

“Not only would it lead to millions more unnecessary deaths, it would also lead to a significant number of people facing a long road to full recovery,” said Tedros.

He said herd immunity, which is supported in some countries, is only possible with safe and effective vaccines distributed equitably around the world.

“And until we have a vaccine, governments and people must do all that they can to suppress transmission, which is the best way to prevent these post-COVID long-term consequences,” said Tedros.

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