WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus self-isolating after Covid contact

In April, Mr Trump accused the Geneva-based UN health agency of being soft on China while dealing with the pandemic and threatened to cut off the US’s funding for the WHO – something that he eventually did in May.

Underlining the importance of safety protocols to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the man who has led the World Health Organisation through the pandemic said he was taking the measure despite being “well and without symptoms” himself.

The news comes amid a spike in cases in many European countries, including France, Germany and the UK, which have announced fresh lockdowns in the past week.

Ghebreyesus, 55, did not identify the person who had been in contact with who had tested positive.

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

He said that he along with his colleagues at the WHO “will continue to engage with partners in solidarity to save lives and protect the vulnerable. Together!”

Over the past few months, the WHO chief has repeatedly urged people to carefully follow safety protocols like wearing a mask and maintaining social distance to the break the chain of infection.

Since the spread of coronavirus began earlier this year, the WHO chief and the organisation as a whole have been criticised by a section of leaders across the world, including the US president Donald Trump, for mismanaging the pandemic.

The withdrawal of the United States, which is the largest financial supporter of the WHO, does not come into effect until July 2021.

In September, Ghebreyesus had noted that when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready – more ready than it was this time – and said “part of every country’s commitment to building back better must therefore be to invest in public health, as an investment in a healthier and safer future”.

As of midday on Monday, there have been roughly 46.1 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the world so far, including 1.1 million deaths.


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