India’s top diplomat said Wednesday that he might have been exposed to COVID-19 and would not physically attend the Group of 7 summit meetings in London, the latest development related to a major increase in cases in the South Asian nation.
Foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who’d only just arrived in London when he received the news that he may have been exposed, said he will hold meetings remotely.
On Thursday, Jaishankar will speak with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Originally, the two were scheduled to meet at Chevening in Kent.
“Was made aware [Tuesday] evening of exposure to possible COVID positive cases,” Jaishankar tweeted on Wednesday.
“As a precaution, and also out of respect for everyone, I agreed to perform my appointments virtually. That will also be the case at today’s G7 conference.”
The G7 summit in London is the first in-person gathering of the world’s top diplomats since the start of the pandemic last year. Health officials have set up daily coronavirus testing that can accommodate as many as 50 people per hour and physical distancing measures are in place.
Over the last month, India has seen the largest increase in incidents. It recently reached 20 million total cases, trailing only the United States, and is fighting to sustain interventions such as oxygen in hospitals and COVID-19 vaccines.
The United States placed a ban on Indian visitors this week, with the exception of U.S. nationals and some people who are excluded.