A meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven — including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken — was hit by a COVID-19 scare Wednesday when two delegates from India tested positive.
The group from India — currently suffering the world’s worst surge in COVID-19 cases — were special guests at the G7 meeting in London, which was heavily billed as a return to face-to-face diplomacy.
“Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar tweeted early Wednesday.
“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,” he wrote.
A British official then confirmed the two positive tests to Reuters, and said the entire Indian delegation was self-isolating. UK rules require a 10-day self-isolation period.
The Indian delegation had not yet attended the main summit venue at Lancaster House, and so meetings scheduled for Wednesday went ahead as planned, with Jaishankar sharing images of him talking to other nations’ leaders onscreen.
The conference venue also had delegates separated by plastic screens and carefully spaced more than 6 feet apart.
Jaishankar had met Blinken in person in London on Monday, with both wearing masks.
Blinken has already received two vaccine doses, and the State Department said it had been advised that its health protocols “would permit us to continue with our G7 activities as planned.”
The three-day meeting is a precursor to the main G7 summit due to take place at a rural English resort in June, with President Biden set to join other world leaders.
With Post wires