A NATO staff member, working at the headquarters in Brussels, has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus after returning from a holiday in northern Italy, the organisation announced in a statement on Monday.
The employee in question has been at home in isolation since the onset of fever symptoms late last week. This is the first case of infection at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, a spokesperson confirmed to The Brussels Times.
Colleagues who have been in contact with the infected person have been warned. Staff at NATO headquarters have also been informed, the organisation said, saying it is “monitoring the situation closely” and “taking all necessary measures”.
Preventive measures have already been taken to guarantee the safety of staff and visitors. Specifically, this involves the temporary suspension of travel to certain regions, encouraging staff to work from home and temporary suspension of group visits to headquarters.
“We remain in close contact with the Belgian government,” NATO concludes in a press release. “We have extensive measures and plans with regard to the continuity of operations so that the essential work can continue.”
Coronavirus in Belgium
Belgium’s FPS Public Health announced on Monday that 39 new people have tested positive for the virus.
On 8 March, the National Reference Laboratory network tested 334 samples, of which 39 tested positive for the virus.
22 of the newly infected people live in Flanders, 10 in Wallonia in 7 in Brussels, bringing the total number of infections in Belgium since the beginning of the epidemic to 239.
The first case at UCLouvain
An assistant of the faculty of bio-engineering of UCLouvain has also tested positive for Covid-19 after having been in contact with people recently returned from Italy, the university said Monday morning in a press release.
The person is well and was isolated as soon as the first symptoms appeared, the university said, saying it has taken measures to limit the spread of the virus.
A follow-up is being carried out with the employees who have been in contact with the person who tested positive.
The Brussels Times