March 17, 2020 / 10:13 AM / in 13 days

WHO confirms two coronavirus cases among its staff

A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) ahead of a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - An official from the World Health Organization, the body leading the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, said on Tuesday that two staff members have been confirmed to be infected with coronavirus.

The cases are the first at the Geneva-based organisation and follow a confirmed case at the U.N. office in Geneva as well one at the World Trade Organization last week. [L8N2B36GR]

“The staff had left the office and then at home showed symptoms and were tested and confirmed with COVID-19,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told journalists, referring to the official name of the disease caused by the virus. “We do therefore have two confirmed cases.”

It was not clear if the infected staff were working in the coronavirus response.

The WHO headquarters is the workplace for about 2,400 staff and consultants and most are now working from home to reduce possible transmission, Lindmeier said.

Switzerland has reported a surge in cases in recent days with over 2,200 cases and passed measures including the mobilisation of 8,000 members of the military late on Monday in an effort to control the outbreak.

Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Catherine Evans

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