Coronavirus fears prompt IMF and World Bank to hold ‘virtual’ October meetings
Washington-based organisations said their goal is to safeguard the health and safety of participants, staff and the local community
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will hold their annual meetings in October virtually, instead of convening in Washington, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we continue to monitor the situation of Covid-19 around the world … and given the ongoing health concerns related to the pandemic … the managements recommend the annual meetings be held in a primarily virtual format,” IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank president David Malpass, said in a joint statement late on Thursday.
The meetings, taking place between October 12-18, typically gather thousands of government officials from member countries, bankers, policy makers, journalists, and business people at the organisations' headquarters located a few blocks from the White House.
However, this is not the first time the IMF and World Bank are taking such measures. The Washington-based organisations held their spring meetings in April in virtual format due to Covid-19 concerns.
“We remain flexible with the format of the meetings in light of developments and will work to accommodate the needs of our membership,” IMF and World Bank said.
“Our goal is to serve our membership effectively while ensuring the health and safety of annual meetings’ participants, staff and the local community in the Washington DC area.”
Covid-19 has led to the cancellation or postponement of various global events including the Tokyo Olympics, the Hannover Trade show, the Expo 2020 and the Mobile World Congress.
The global coronavirus case total has surpassed 12.1 million, with more than 550,000 deaths reported, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker. There have been about 6.7 million recoveries.
More than 60,500 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the US on Thursday, setting a daily record. The tally was the highest daily count yet for any country since the pathogen emerged late last year.
Last month, the IMF downgraded its forecast for the world economy and said it would contract by 4.9 per cent this year due to a more severe economic fallout from the Covid-19.
Published: July 10, 2020 11:11 AM