UN chief Guterres ends quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tested negative for COVID-19 Thursday and ended two days of isolation prompted by exposure to a U.N. official with the coronavirus, AFP reports.

"Yes, negative," his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said as the 72-year-old U.N. chief went into a U.N. Security Council meeting without speaking to reporters.

Guterres has received a two-dose vaccination and a booster shot.

The Security Council meeting was due to focus on terrorism and climate change in the Sahel region of Africa.

In a recent statement, Guterres slammed travel bans on Wednesday that target specific countries and regions over the new COVID-19 variant omicron, calling them "unfair" and "ineffective."

"With a virus that is truly borderless, travel restrictions that isolate any one country or region are not only deeply unfair and punitive – they are ineffective," Guterres said at a news conference, suggesting instead increased testing for travelers.

Dozens of countries imposed restrictions on travel from southern African states after the omicron variant of the coronavirus was first reported in the region last week.

Guterres said countries that had reported the emergence of the new strain should not "be collectively punished for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world."

He reiterated an appeal to governments to implement augmented testing measures for travelers, "together with other appropriate and truly effective measures."

"This is the only way to reduce the risk of transmission while allowing for travel and economic engagement."


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