COVID-19 scare at G7 meeting after Indian delegates test positive

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Britain is hosting the three-day meeting – the first such G7 event in two years – which has been billed as a chance to restart face-to-face diplomacy.
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The Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting in London was hit by a COVID-19 scare on Wednesday when India’s foreign minister and his entire team said they were self-isolating after two delegation members tested positive.

Britain is hosting the three-day meeting — the first such G7 event in two years — which has been billed as a chance to restart face-to-face diplomacy.

India, currently undergoing the world’s worst surge in COVID-19 cases, is attending the G7 as a guest and had been due to take part in meetings on Tuesday evening and throughout Wednesday.

“Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Twitter. “As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode. That will be the case with the G7 Meeting today as well.” Sky News said Jaishankar did not test positive for the virus.

The meeting is a precursor to the main G7 summit due to take place at an English resort in June. Delegates attending the event at Lancaster House in London have been observing social distancing and are separated by transparent screens in meetings, and are tested daily for the virus.

A British official confirmed the two positive tests, which require a 10-day self-isolation period.

Jaishankar has held meetings in London with officials including British Home Secretary Priti Patel and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Daily infections in India rose by 382,315 on Wednesday, health ministry data showed. The number has been in excess of 300,000 every day for the past two weeks.

The WHO said India accounted for 46 percent of global cases and a quarter of global deaths reported in the past week.

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