Monday, October 18, 2021

Scare at London G7 as Indian delegates test positive for Covid-19

The talks this week are the first face-to-face meetings the G7 powers have had in more than two years.

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The entire Indian delegation to the Group of Seven summit in London has been asked to self-isolate by Public Health England (PHE).

This comes after two of their recently-arrived delegates tested positive for Covid-19, the UK government has said.

India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he “was made aware of exposure to possible Covid positive cases”.

He met Home Secretary Priti Patel in person on Tuesday but will now carry out all meetings virtually.

Pictures were taken of the two wearing masks and swapping folders as new trade and investment deals were signed between India and the UK.

He also met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

It is understood that because strict social distancing was maintained, PHE has decided those at the meetings do not need to self-isolate.

Everyone attending the G7 talks will continue to be tested daily.

“This is exactly why we have put in place strict Covid protocols and daily testing,” Reuters reported a senior diplomat as saying.

The official summit of G7 leaders is taking place in Cornwall next month, but ministers are currently in the UK for preliminary talks.

The talks this week are the first face-to-face meetings the G7 powers have had in more than two years.

The G7 group – the world’s seven largest advanced economies – is made up of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

India is not in the G7 but delegates from there and Australia, South Korea and South Africa have also been invited as guests as the UK tries to deepen ties with the Indo-Pacific region.

The meeting on Wednesday is between foreign ministers, who were greeted by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab with an elbow bump in the courtyard of Lancaster House in London.

They then went to the summit room where the ministers were separated from one another by clear screens in order to minimise any risk from coronavirus.

The talks are expected to discuss new ways to ensure fairer access to vaccine stockpiles and increase support for the global vaccine distribution scheme known as Covax.

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