A view of the Secretariat Building, with Members States’ flags flying in the foreground, at United Nations headquarters in New York. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

For Permanent Missions of Member States in New York

Key Points

  • The UN is focusing its efforts on supporting field locations.
  • The medical service of the UN HQ does not have testing capability, which requires a specialized lab, and is not able to order tests or take samples.
  • We are working actively with Permanent Missions and NYC hospital providers and labs to find innovative solutions to support diplomatic and UN staff.
  • Whilst recognizing the unique circumstances of diplomatic staff, at present no special provisions for testing, treatment or access are in place.
  • Almost all the information on illness, testing and support on the NY page of this website will apply to staff of Permanent Missions and we highly encourage you to review it.

Most of the information available on the New York page and the main page of the un.org/coronavirus website are relevant to staff of Permanent Missions to the United Nations. The main changes will relate to different circumstances and different insurance coverage. The United Nations recognizes the unique circumstances that members of Permanent Missions may find themselves in, particularly as it regards the response in their home country, and that in the host country. Whilst the virus is the same in each country, its impact varies widely.

If you are ill, follow the instructions in the ‘I’m Sick’ page. These are up to date and apply to Mission staff and their families exactly as they do for UN staff.

If you want testing, see the advice on the ‘COVID-19 testing in the NY area’ page.  This is up-to-date and applies to everyone in the NY area, not just mission staff and their families and UN staff.  We recognize that there is a disconnect at the moment – the WHO has said ‘Test, Test. Test’, but NYC is saying don’t test – save tests for the most seriously ill and those in hospital. This is simply a matter of the availability of test kits, the danger of sick people visiting testing sites, and the huge increases in cases.  Testing is good – but is not readily available.

The medical service of the UN HQ New York is not able to order testing, to collect samples, or to do the test, which requires specialized equipment. 

For both testing and treatment, no additional facilities have been established for the diplomatic community.  However, if Permanent Missions are seeking help to obtain cleaning supplies to accommodate they can contact the US Mission which covered this within a Diplomatic Note on 13 March 2020.

For any further questions, contact the HQ New York  Occupational Safety and Health team at osh@un.org for advice.