LATEST: COVID-19 Clusters Found In WHO HQ. 65 Confirmed Infections And Still Rising! Moderna Vaccine Should Have Been Tested On WHO Staff!
: Emerging reports are indicting that a COVID-19 cluster has broken out at the World Health Organization headquarters with more than 65 cases of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections among staff based at its HQ office, including five individuals who worked on the premises and were in contact with one another. Sources are saying more cases are expected to emerge and that even certain senior executives were most probably infected. As of press time it is not known if whether the COVID-19 infections were a result of WHO personnel not following the advice on their own websites or whether it was the advice on the WHO website that was not updated that lead their staff to contracting the disease! Either way for the millions of people looking towards the WHO for hope, many now think that the WHO is simply an incompetent agency.
Interestingly the U.N. health agency said it is investigating how and where the five individuals became infected and that it has not determined whether transmission happened at its offices.
WHO's confirmation on Monday of the total number of infections was the first time it has publicly provided such a count.
Dr Michael Ryan, the agency's chief of emergencies, told media, "To my knowledge, the cluster being investigated is the first evidence of potential transmission on the site of WHO.”
Reports said that about half of the infections recorded so far were in people who had been working from home. But 32 were in staff who had been working on premises at the headquarters building, where more than 2,000 people usually work and the agency says it has put in place strict hygiene, screening and other prevention measures.
Also in an official email which was sent to WHO staff on Friday, Raul Thomas, who heads business operations at WHO, noted that five people ie four on the same team and one who had contact with them had tested positive for COVID-19. That could indicate that basic infection control and social distancing procedures in place may have been broken.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on COVID-19 confirmed on Monday,"We have had some cases that have been associated with the premises. We do have some cases in the last week that are linked together."
She added, "There are possible ways in which they were infected outside of the premises. So we're still doing the epidemiologic investigation with that."
Van Kerkhove two weeks ago had said there had been no transmission at headquarters to that point but added that the agency was monitoring it. WHO, which is coordinating the global response to the pandemic, had previously said that staffers had been infected but never provided a number or details.
The official email sent out to staffers said, "As per standard protocols, these colleagues are receiving the necessary medical attention and are recovering at home. These last five cases bring the total reported number of affected members of the Geneva based workforce to 65 since the beginning of the pandemic."
According to the email, 49 of the overall cases had occurred in the last eight weeks, "thus very much in line with the situation being reported in Geneva and the surrounding areas." He added that "a hig
her number of cases among those who telework might have gone unreported." The timing of the other 16 cases was not clear.
The new revelation comes amid a surge of cases in Europe, host country Switzerland, and the city of Geneva, in particular.
The official email did not specify who was infected, but a WHO staffer with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the press said the five linked cases included a member of the WHO director-general's leadership team who is also an infection control specialist.
It was said that Thomas' email was sent after other WHO officials raised concerns that people who had been in contact with the group were still working in the Geneva building and potentially exposing others to COVID-19, the staffer said.
The senior manager reportedly held several in-person meetings at WHO in early November before testing positive last week. The person, contacted by the media, referred all comments to the WHO media office.
Farah Dakhlallah, a WHO spokeswoman told media, "We have not yet established whether transmission occurred on campus, but are looking into the matter.”
The WHO has faced repeated criticism of its handling of the pandemic. U.S. President Donald Trump accused the U.N. agency of "colluding" with China to hide the extent of the initial outbreak. In June, the media found that WHO publicly lauded China for its speed and transparency, even though private meetings showed WHO officials frustrated that the country sat on releasing critical outbreak information.
The email obtained by the media said enhanced measures to "reduce our risk profile" were being considered.
It added, "Finally, members of the workforce are reminded that physical meetings, including gatherings in common areas or in the cafeteria, are strongly discouraged and should only take place where absolutely necessary.”
It was reported that elsewhere in Geneva, restaurants are among many public venues that have been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In October, Thomas told WHO staffers the agency was restricting access to its Geneva headquarters to critical staffers, including senior directors, their assistants and management officers. "All members for the workforce are reminded to always keep proper hand hygiene, respect physical distancing standards (at least one meter) and wear masks, when distancing is not possible," he said then.
Typically an estimated 2,400 people regularly work at WHO's seven-story headquarters in normal times. Doing what we are not sure? As the pandemic has swelled in the area, staffers have been encouraged to work from home when possible. Non-staff visitors have been required to wear masks, and access to the building has been curtailed.
Also ahead of WHO's weeklong meeting of its member states last week which was mostly virtual, staffers were told in an internal email to take extra precautions, including mask-wearing in public places.
It was reported that on Monday, from a vast meeting room at the headquarters, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and other officials were participating in a session of the agency's latest executive board meeting, which was largely conducted by video conference. He was returning from a two-week self-quarantine at home after coming into contact with a person who tested positive. Because Tedros did not show any symptoms himself, he was not tested for COVID-19 but stayed at home out of an abundance of caution. Sources are saying that he is being quarantined again.
Many healthcare professionals are saying that all WHO staff should have been vaccinated with either the Moderna’s or Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines which their executives are claiming have 95% and 90% effectiveness respectively and of which Tedros has been signing praises about despite many researchers questioning Moderna’s claim that its RNA vaccines can be stored for up to a month in a normal fridge, something that many find impossible to comprehend unless the vaccines are simply placebos!
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