Coronavirus: UN advises staff against non-essential travel




By Harrison Arubu

UN, New York – The United Nations (UN) has advised its personnel against non-essential travel to China and other countries with reported cases of the deadly coronavirus.

In an advisory circulated among its secretariat staff on Friday, the organisation said it was difficult to predict the situation globally as the outbreak evolves.

On Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the respiratory disease a global health emergency and called on countries to take urgent measures to contain its spread.

WHO figures showed that there were 7,800 confirmed cases globally as of Thursday, 7,736 of them in China where the outbreak began in December.

According to the global health body, 170 people have died in China so far, and 1,370 patients in severe conditions.

The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, including the United States, but no death.

The UN said although there was currently no known infection of staff and other personnel actively deployed within the secretariat, the situation was being closely monitored.

“Issues and options are being developed to both maintain the safety and protection of personnel and mitigate any impact on operations where possible. 

“Precautions and prevention is a priority in supporting preparedness and response efforts across the Secretariat. 

“Multiple actions have already been taken, including strengthening preparedness of UN health facilities and initial efforts to raise awareness amongst all colleagues,” it said.

The statement announced the establishment of a dedicated webpage to provide all staff and other Secretariat personnel with more information. (NAN)

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