India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has been forced to pull out of in-person G7 meetings after two coronavirus cases were detected in his travelling party.
Jaishankar came into contact with the positive cases, though has not tested positive himself. He is now joining meetings with other ministers virtually.
Britain is hosting the G7 meet between foreign ministers in person: marking the first face-to-face meeting of G7 foreign ministers in more than two years.
The two cases in the Indian delegation were picked up prior to travel, with neither of the cases actually reaching the summit, taking place at Lancaster House in London
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed Jaishankar virtually to the G7 summit, commenting that “we are all having to adapt in agile ways” to the pandemic.
Boris Johnson said he would have a “Zoom exchange” with Mr Jaishankar later on Wednesday, May 5 as the Prime Minister emphasised the “very important relationship” with India and the UK’s G7 partners.
Although India is not a G7 member, it had been invited to attend the meeting of foreign ministers as a guest.
The meetings have been billed as a chance for leaders to restart diplomacy - as well as a chance for the west to show a front against Russian and Chinese threats.
Mr Jaishankar tweeted of the Covid cases:
“Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases.
“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.”
A senior UK diplomat said: “We deeply regret that foreign minister Dr Jaishankar will be unable to attend the meeting today in person and will now attend virtually, but this is exactly why we have put in place strict Covid protocols and daily testing.”