UN Security Council cuts schedule over coronavirus
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United Nations (United States) (AFP)
The UN Security Council will scale back its schedule for March as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic, China said Wednesday.
China, which holds the March presidency of the Security Council and is also the epicenter of the virus, wants to ensure "we will be in a better position to protect ourselves," said its ambassador, Zhang Jun.
While no Security Council sessions will be canceled, China has advised a "scaling down of the meetings" including reducing delegation sizes, Zhang told reporters.
Informal consultations within the powerful 15-member body may also be shifted to a larger room so "that we have more space and less people," he said.
The United Nations has pushed back major gatherings outside of the Security Council.
On Wednesday it indefinitely delayed a March 23-April 3 meeting on marine biodiversity as well as an April 13-24 forum on indigenous issues.
It already postponed a March annual meeting on the status of women that would have brought 12,000 people to New York.
No cases of COVID-19 have been reported within the 3,000-strong UN Secretariat, said the world body's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
The United Nations has halted tours and much of the staff has been asked to work remotely, Dujarric said.
© 2020 AFP