UN non-essential staff to work from home

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 14 2020 09:50 AM | Updated as of Mar 14 2020 09:51 AM

The United Nations Headquarters is pictured as it will be temporarily closed to tours due to the spread of coronavirus in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 10, 2020. Carlo Allegri, Reuters

UNITED NATIONS - All United Nations staff at its headquarters in New York were told Friday to work from home for at least three weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak unless it was essential for them to be present.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the plan was "to reduce our physical presence at United Nations Headquarters, while continuing to deliver on our mandates."

"Your health and well-being remain my greatest concern. Be safe, be smart, be kind," he said in a separate message to staff Thursday. About 3,000 UN employees are based in New York.

A Philippine diplomat this week tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first recorded case at the UN headquarters.

Many organizations and companies around the world have sent staff home to try to reduce the spread of the virus.