The UN Security Council will scale back its schedule for March as a precaution against the new-coronavirus pandemic, China said on Wednesday.
China, which holds the presidency of the Security Council all through March and could also be the epicentre of the virus, wants to verify “we can be in a better position to give protection to ourselves,” said its ambassador, Zhang Jun.
While no Security Council sessions will be canceled, China has advised a “scaling down of the meetings” including reducing delegation sizes, Zhang told reporters.
Casual consultations inside the powerful 15-member body can also be shifted to a larger room so “that we’ve got more space and not more people,” he said.
The United Nations has pushed back major gatherings out of doors of the Security Council. On Wednesday it indefinitely delayed a March 23-April 3 assembly on marine biodiversity in addition to an April 13-24 forum on indigenous issues.
It had already postponed a March annual assembly on the status of women that would have brought 12,000 people to New York.
A UN official, speaking anonymously, said the association will have to also postpone the five-year review convention of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is scheduled for April 27-May 22.
No cases of COVID-19 have been reported inside the 3,000-strong UN Secretariat, said the world body’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
The United Nations has halted tours and much of the staff have been asked to work remotely, Dujarric said.