Photo Credit: US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) / Public Domain
COVID-19 coronavirus testing kit

The World Health Organization (WHO) is not immune to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, despite arguably having the most expertise on the planet about the virus.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a briefing Monday afternoon in Geneva that a member of the WHO staff in the “Iran country office” had tested positive for COVID-19.


“He has mild disease,” Tedros said.

In addition, the WHO director-general said a WHO team arrived in Iran Monday afternoon to deliver supplies and support for the Iranian government to help in the response to the epidemic.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates for his support in making this mission possible,” Tedros said.

He added that it has become clear that COVID-19 is a “unique virus with unique features. This virus is not influenza,” he said.

“We are in uncharted territory. We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures.

“If this was an influenza epidemic, we would have expected to see widespread community transmission across the globe by now, and efforts to slow it down or contain it would not be feasible.

“But containment of COVID-19 is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries. With early, aggressive measures, countries can stop transmission and save lives.”

There are currently more than 4,200 confirmed cases of the virus in South Korea, and 22 deaths due to the virus – more than half of all cases outside China. However, the WHO said the cases in South Korea appear to be coming mostly from five known clusters rather than from the community.