Photo taken on March 11, 2020 shows the UN Security Council Debate on Countering Terrorism and Extremism in Africa at the UN headquarters in New York. (Xinhua/Wang Jiangang)

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) — A delegate from the permanent mission of the Philippines to the United Nations has tested positive for COVID-19, the first known case at the UN headquarters in New York, a UN spokesman said Thursday.

“Earlier today, the permanent mission of the Philippines informed the UN Medical Services that one of its delegates has tested positive for COVID-19,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in an e-mail to UN correspondents.

“The delegate was last in UN headquarters on Monday for about 30 minutes around mid-day and visited only one meeting room, which has gone through three cleaning cycles since then,” he said.

“The delegate did not have contact with UN staff but met two delegates from another mission. UN Medical Services is reaching out to them,” he added.


The patient is a female diplomat from the Philippine mission, said Kira Azucena, the Philippine acting UN ambassador, in a message sent to different missions earlier.

“As of today, the Philippine mission is in lockdown, and all personnel are instructed to self-quarantine and to seek medical attention should they develop the symptoms,” said the message.


In response to the coronavirus crisis, Guterres has canceled all UN system sponsored side events at headquarters scheduled for March and April, but not legislative meetings such as for the General Assembly and Security Council, Dujarric said at a daily briefing.

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has postponed the UN Youth Plenary to a later date, said Reem Abaza, spokeswoman for Muhammad-Bande.

The event in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN was scheduled to be held from March 31 to April 2.