UN scraps in-person meetings after Covid-19 outbreak

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – All in-person meetings at the United Nations were cancelled on Tuesday (Oct 27) for the rest of the week after a member state reported five staffers had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The UN medical service recommended the cancellation pending contact tracing of the sick people, the president of the UN General Assembly, Mr Volkan Bozkir of Turkey, said in a letter on Monday evening to the 193 UN member states.

Mr Bozkir did not say which UN mission reported the Covid-19 infection but a source close to the matter said it was Niger, which currently has a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.

Mr Bozkir later said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had recommended in-person meetings be suspended “until the end of the week” to allow time for contact tracing and for the full extent of the outbreak to be determined.

The 15-member council had planned to hold a monthly face-to-face meeting on Tuesday on Syria, but this will now be conducted virtually.

It was the first time the UN has scrapped in-person meetings because of the pandemic since they resumed in the summer. Most sessions are still held virtually, however.

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