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

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LONDON: India’s entire delegation to the Group of Seven summit in London is self-isolating after two of its members tested positive for COVID-19, the British government said on Wednesday (May 5).

“Two delegates tested positive so the entire delegation is now self isolating,” a British official said.

“The meeting had been enabled by a strict set of COVID protocols, including daily testing of all delegates,” the British official said.

READ: India accounts for 46% of world’s new COVID-19 cases, quarter of deaths

India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he would hold his talks virtually after being exposed to possible coronavirus cases.

“Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases,” Jaishankar tweeted.

“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.”

Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in-person on Monday evening on the sidelines of the foreign ministers summit.

The US State Department said it had been advised, including by public health professionals in Britain, that its health protocols “would permit us to continue with our G7 activities as planned”.

“We have no reason to believe any of our delegation is at risk. We will continue to follow the guidance of public health professionals going forward and abide by the same strict COVID-19 protocols,” spokesman Ned Price said.

READ: G7 seeks common front on China in first talks since COVID-19 pandemic

The Indian High Commission in London did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier, British vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said he was unaware of a report that delegates from G7 countries were self-isolating because of a COVID-19 scare.

India is not a G7 member but was invited by Britain to this week’s summit, along with Australia, South Africa and South Korea.

India has been hit by a devastating wave of infections in recent weeks that has taken its total number of cases to more than 20.6 million.

The massive spike has pushed the healthcare system to breaking point, overwhelming hospitals and leading to severe shortages of beds, oxygen and other critical medical supplies.

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