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India’s Foreign Minister Jaishankar Forced to Self-Isolate in London After Positive Covid Tests

India’s Foreign Minister Jaishankar Forced to Self-Isolate in London After Positive Covid Tests

  • The foreign minister is currently in the country to attend a G-7 foreign ministers meeting ahead of the summit in Cornwall in early June.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, is currently in self-isolation in London, where he led a delegation to attend a G-7 foreign ministers meeting. Jaishankar is participating in the meeting virtually — from hotel rooms near the venue in London — after at least two members of his delegation tested positive for the coronavirus, he tweeted on May 5. “Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases,” he wrote. “As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode.”

The news comes as India is experiencing a devastating and deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other members of India’s delegation were also isolating. 

Britain recently restricted travel from India amid the surge in cases, only allowing British citizens and residents coming from India. Those who are allowed in must enter a mandatory hotel quarantine upon arrival. However, government guidelines offer exemptions to some of the measures for representatives of foreign countries who are traveling to the country on official business.

The three-day meeting in London is a precursor to a G-7 summit in Cornwall, U.K. in early June, which will be attended by G-7 leaders including President Joe Biden who will make his first scheduled trip abroad since taking office. As per The New York Times, the meeting, “held before a summit of leaders from the coterie of nations known as the Group of 7, has been heralded as the first major in-person diplomatic gathering since the pandemic began.” In attendance were foreign ministers from the Group of 7 countries — the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — alongside representatives from Australia, Brunei, India, South Africa and South Korea.

Earlier on May 3 and 4, the Indian delegation held meetings with Britain’s home secretary Priti Patel and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. 

Patel later tweeted a photo of her May 4 meeting with Jaishankar. “A pleasure to welcome @DrSJaishankar to the @UKHomeOffice today as we signed the landmark Migration & Mobility deal as part of our New Plan for Immigration, providing new opportunities for our young people to live and work here and in India as we recover from the pandemic.”

At their meeting on May 3, U.S. and India delegations sat socially distanced and masked across from each other. In a photo Jaishankar tweeted on May 3 shows the two leaders standing socially distanced from each other. :Good to meet in person my old friend @SecBlinken,” Jaishankar wrote. :Detailed discussion on the global Covid challenge, focussing on expanded vaccine production capacity and reliable supply chains.”

However it is unclear if Jaishankar attended a G7 dinner on May 4 night with Blinken and other foreign ministers. It is unclear how many in the Indian delegation are vaccinated, The New York Times report speculates.

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