First case of coronavirus case at United Nations HQ, diplomat from Philippines tests positive for COVID-19
(Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

A Philippine diplomat in New York has tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first recorded case at United Nations headquarters in the city, diplomatic sources said.

The diplomat, who had last visited the UN on Monday, showed symptoms of flu the following day and saw a doctor. "She got the call today that she tested positive for COVID-19," said a letter from the Philippines mission on Thursday. "As of today, the Philippine mission is in lockdown, and all personnel are instructed to self-quarantine," said the letter obtained by AFP.

The building of the Philippines permanent mission to UN is under lockdown until further notice and its employees have been asked to adopt self-quarantine and seek medical attention if the symptoms of the deadly disease surface, according to the statement issued by the office of the UN permanent mission.

The diplomat continues to be isolated and remains in good health. The diplomat had visited the UN headquarters on Monday, March 9 when she was not showing symptoms. On March 10, Tuesday she came down with the flu and was tested positive for common flu. Upon further testing on Wednesday, she was confirmed positive for the novel virus.

The diplomat works at the UN General Assembly's Sixth Committee, which deals with legal matters. About 3,000 people are employed at the towering riverfront UN headquarters. Numerous other diplomats from the 193 UN member countries come and go between their own missions in the area and the Manhattan UN complex. The Philippines has confirmed 52 cases of COVID-19 illness. There have been more than 1,600 cases in the United States.

(Inputs from AFP and ANI)

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