UN chief tells diplomats to skip meeting in New York due to coronavirus risks, Armenian Amb. says

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has recommended that ministers and diplomats skip traveling to a meeting in New York of the Commission on the Status of Women due to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.

More than 7,000 people usually attend the annual meeting, which is dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is due to be held from March 9 to 20.

However, in a letter to U.N. member states from the chair of the commission, Armenia’s U.N. Ambassador Mher Margaryan said Guterres had recommended that member states “shorten and scale down the session” and cancel dozens of side events.

“He also strongly recommended that capital-based representatives refrain from traveling to headquarters for the session,” Margaryan wrote. 

The bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women proposed that member states agree to Guterres’ recommendations at a meeting on Monday. 

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres made the recommendations given the “fast-evolving situation” with the coronavirus and the need to “balance the UN’s critical work and public health concerns”.

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