UN meetings return to virtual format due to coronavirus infections

The meeting on Syria will also be held in video format on 29 October, the Russian Post Office said.

The meetings of the committees of the UN General Assembly, as well as the upcoming meetings of the Security Council, are temporarily returned to the video format. This decision has been taken due to cases of coronavirus infection of employees of one of the UN missions.

“Following information from the secretariat about five cases of infection in one of the Permanent Missions, we received a recommendation from the UN Medical Service to cancel all meetings in person at UN Headquarters on 27 October in order to conduct a survey of possible contacts with the sick”, –  says a message circulated by the office of the UN General Assembly Chairman.

The Russian Permanent Mission to the UN, which holds the presidency of the Security Council in October, tweeted that the meeting on Syria scheduled for Tuesday will also be held in video format. Earlier the meeting was planned to be held in the UN Security Council Chamber.

As First Deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyansky noted in his Telegram-channel, “it is difficult to say for now how long and how serious all this is. “So far, with regard to 27 October, the meeting of the Council on Political and Humanitarian Aspects of the Syrian Settlement has been translated into video format. The General Assembly was also affected – in particular, the voting on the resolutions of the First (disarmament) Committee was cancelled,” he explained.

“In one post-representation of a member state of the Security Council (in which – I do not speak for ethical reasons) – as many as five people fell ill. Naturally, we were all in close contact, but with all the precautions and distances we took. At the same time we will see how effective they are”, –  added the diplomat. –  “We’ll see what happens next. Nobody has ready-made recipes”, –  Polyansky concluded.

The UN headquarters in New York went into remote operation in March, and face-to-face meetings began to resume gradually only in July.