The group of 239 scientists from 32 countries want the global body to act immediately in light of the latest research and drastically alter the advice issued to populations to stem the spread of the virus. This could see people required to wear masks indoors and air conditioners fitted with filters.
The experts’ claims counter the WHO’s stance on how the novel coronavirus spreads from one person to another.
The WHO has said the disease spreads primarily through droplets from the mouth or nose which leave the body when an infected person sneezes, coughs or even speaks.
The scientists outlined their findings in an open letter to the organisation, arguing that droplets may travel through the air, as opposed to falling to the floor, and could be inhaled by people in the same room.
If the advice laid out by the scientists in their letter is adopted, people may have to wear face coverings while indoors, even if they are practicing social distancing, the New York Times has said.
The WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
The New York Times carried a comment from one of the organisation’s bosses saying she was not convinced by the latest findings.
Dr Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection and prevention control at the WHO, told the NYT: “Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence.”
The shocking claim comes as the WHO recorded a record rise in the global number of coronavirus cases.
The United States, Brazil and India showed the biggest jump, as a total of 212,326 fresh infections were added to the tally in 24 hours.
SEE BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES:
9.53am update: Louvre reopens as Paris tour guides protest over lack of support
Several dozen Paris tour guides wearing masks and holding Mona Lisa portraits protested outside the Louvre museum on Monday for more support from the government to help them ride out the coronavirus crisis and a dearth of tourists.
They gathered at the foot of the Louvre’s glass pyramid as the museum reopened to visitors for the first time in four months after going into lockdown.
In May, France announced measures worth €18 billion to support its tourism sector from the damage wrought upon it by the global pandemic.
But some say these funds were not reaching tour guides.
It may be months before foreigner flock back to Paris in pre-crisis numbers.
The Louvre said it was expecting 7,000 visitors on Monday but after an initial flurry managers anticipate that numbers will only be a fifth of pre-outbreak levels – likely making for a more serene experience than usual.
9.12am update: Rishi Sunak plans tax cuts to boost COVID recovery
Rishi Sunak will try to restart the country’s economy by giving homebuyers a tax break and cutting value-added tax for pubs, restaurants and other hospitality firms, The Times has reported.
The Chancellor is due to announce on Wednesday the next stage of his attempt to steer the world’s fifth-biggest economy away from its 25 percent collapse in March and April, when the government’s coronavirus lockdown shut entire sectors.
Mr Sunak’s plan is expected to focus on measures to limit a rise in unemployment — including help for job-seekers and trainees — but the measures reported by The Times suggest he also sees a need to boost demand with tax cuts.
Mr Sunak will say he will raise the property tax threshold to as high as £500,000, four times its current level.
That would exempt most homebuyers from paying any stamp duty for up to a year, the newspaper reported.
The tax break would be implemented in an official budget statement in the autumn, it said.
8.52am update: Russia records 6,611 new infections
Russia has reported 6,611 new coronavirus cases and 135 new deaths.
8.08am update: Dowden hits out at ‘unacceptable’ pub behaviour
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has criticised people who did not maintain social distancing when pubs reopened on Saturday but said the “vast majority” obeyed the rules.
He told BBC Breakfast: “In respect to what happen in a few places, and I should say a few places, on Saturday night clearly that is not acceptable and people should be socially distancing.
“And actually I think by and large the vast majority of people up and down Britain showed British common sense, listened to the rules and socially distanced.”