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UN Scraps In-person Meetings after Virus Outbreak

UN Scraps In-person Meetings after Virus Outbreak

Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 - 07:45
FILE PHOTO: The United Nations Headquarters is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

All in-person meetings at the UN were cancelled Tuesday for the rest of the week after a member state reported five staffers had tested positive for the COVID-19 disease.

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

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

Niger last met in person on Thursday.

Bozkir later said UN chief 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 Tuesday on Syria, but it was 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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