Coronavirus threat reschedules India-EU Summit, PM Modi cancels visit: MEA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not got to Belgium’s capital Brussels for the India-EU Summit which has been deferred due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

“As far as India-EU Summit is concerned which PM Modi had to attend, the health authorities of both the countries suggested that travelling must not take place at present. So, it has been decided that Summit will be rescheduled on a mutually convenient date,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press briefing.

“The decision has been taken in the spirit of close cooperation between the EU and India who share same concerns and commitment to global health and hope that the outbreak is contained soon,” he added.

At least two staff working for the European Union administration in Brussels tested positive for the novel coronavirus and are receiving treatment, European officials said on Wednesday.

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One case, a man working at the European Defence Agency (EDA), had returned from Italy on February 23.

The second, who works in security for the European Council, is thought to have been infected in Brussels after having contact with the first man.

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Meetings at the headquarters of the Brussels-based EDA have been cancelled until March 13, said Elisabeth Schoeffmann, head of media and communication at EDA.

Brussels is the de facto capital of the 27-nation union and home to many of its institutions, including the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament.

Parliament has already limited public access to its buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg, amid fears that large gatherings could hasten the spread of the outbreak.

More than 90,000 people have been infected and around 3,200 have died worldwide since the virus erupted in China.