Phillippines mission to UN on lockdown in New York after diplomat tests positive for coronavirus

The Philippine Center New York, which houses the Philippine mission to the United Nations is on lockdown Friday morning after a female diplomat tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.

About 12 diplomats work at the mission on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The staff is currently “isolated and in good condition.”

“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, Philippines U.N. Ambassador Kira Azucena told Reuters. “We are assuming that all of us have been infected.”

The diplomat was also at U.N. headquarters on Monday, marking the first COVID-19 case inside the 74-year-old international organization.

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NEW YORK, USA - MARCH 11: The outside view of United Nations Headquarters after it closed to the public

NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 11: The outside view of United Nations Headquarters after it closed to the public “out of an abundance of caution” because of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York, United States on March 11, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The diplomat represented the Philippines in the U.N. General Assembly’s legal affairs committee and had been in the United Nations headquarters for about 30 minutes without having symptoms for the virus, according to a release by the Phillippines mission. She came down with flu-like symptoms the next day and visited a doctor.

The diagnosis prompted several meetings at the U.N. to be canceled on Friday.

“She got the call today that she tested positive for COVID-19,” the release added. “[Azucena] immediately advised the United Nations medical director’s office of this development, as well as the NYC health department.”

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A U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Reuters the infected diplomat met with two other diplomats and visited only one U.N. meeting room, which had since been cleaned three times. The spokesman said U.N. medical services were contacting the other diplomats.

Teodoro Locsin, the Philippines Foreign Secretary said on Twitter infected diplomat was “young,” “doing well,” and had “just come from Florida.”

The U.N. started taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this week, including closing the building off to the public. Half the several thousand U.N. staff will work from home by next week, according to the news organization.

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New York has over 338 cases of the virus, the second-highest total outside of Washington state. Cases in NYC were nearing 100 on Thursday, according to the state’s health department.

The Phillippines has 52 confirmed cases and two deaths from the virus.

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