PM Modi’s visit to Brussels for India-EU summit deferred over coronavirus outbreak

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Brussels for the India-EU summit has been deferred in view of novel coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

India and EU decided to reschedule PM Modi’s visit to Brussels in view of advice by health authorities due to coronavirus outbreak, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during the weekly press briefing.

“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,” Kumar said.blank

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

The Prime Minister had accepted the invitation of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in December last year to visit Brussels for the next India-EU Summit.

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The decision to defer the high-profile visit comes after the detection of the first case of coronavirus among staff at the Council of the European Union.

A spokesperson of the Council, which hosts ministerial meetings and EU summits and has a staff of 3,000, said on Wednesday that a person employed with the information security unit was tested positive for coronavirus.

At least 77 countries, including China, have reported a total of over 93,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with over 32,000 deaths.

India has reported 30 confirmed cases with most of them being detected among people who had a travel history to Italy, including 16 Italian tourists.