(Adding details throughout)
GENEVA/LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The World Health
Organization has not changed its policy on aerosol transmission
of the coronavirus, it said on Monday after U.S. health
officials published draft new guidance by mistake warning that
it can spread through airborne particles.
Mike Ryan, executive director of the UN agency's emergencies
programme, said he would follow up with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in the next 24 hours after it
said COVID-19 could spread through airborne particles that can
remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.
"Certainly we haven't seen any new evidence and our position
on this remains the same," he said in a briefing.
The CDC said a draft version of changes to its
recommendations were posted in error on its website while it was
in the process of updating its guidance.
It would repost the guidance once it had completed the
The CDC has previously said the virus mainly spreads from
person to person through respiratory droplets when a sick person
coughs, sneezes or talks.
The WHO's Ryan said the agency still believes the disease is
primarily spread through droplets, but that in crowded closed
spaces with inadequate ventilation, aerosol transmission can
"We still, based on the evidence, believe that there is a
wide range of transmission modes," he said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Kate Kelland and Mike Shields;
Writing by Josephine Mason
Editing by Gareth Jones)