UNITED NATIONS: UN General Assembly meetings scheduled for the months of April and May have been postponed in the wake of the "rapidly evolving" coronavirus pandemic, but there are no plans as yet to change the dates of the high-level annual UNGA session in September.
Since COVID-19 emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan, around 1.1 million people have fallen ill across the globe. Almost 60,000 people have died worldwide.
The President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (PGA), Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, has decided to postpone the UNGA meetings scheduled for April and May "in light of the updated guidance severely limiting in-person meetings, as a result of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic," the PGA's office said on Friday.
Muhammad-Bande has decided to postpone the plenary meeting for the 75th anniversary of the end of the World War-II, scheduled for May 6; the high-level thematic debate, scheduled for May 11, to take stock of the progress on the impact of rapid technological change on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; and the informal interactive dialogue on commodity markets, scheduled for May 22.
All in-person meetings of the General Assembly mandated processes, scheduled to be held between April 17 and the end of May, also stand cancelled.
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, was asked at the daily press briefing on Thursday whether there were plans to cancel the high-level UN General Assembly session in September, particularly since the COP26 UN Climate Change conference set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed due to COVID-19.
"No, I'm not aware. No plans that I'm aware of. Obviously, the COP26 and the General Assembly high-level debate are two different things in the sense that the General Assembly takes place in a UN Headquarter station.
Obviously, the level of representation and so forth will be decided by Member States. But at this point there are no plans to change that calendar," Dujarric said.
Earlier last month, as the number of coronavirus cases began to gradually soar across New York City, Dujarric had said that "it is very likely" that the COVID-19 situation "will have an impact of some sort on the General Assembly, but I think it's too early to tell and to give any more details at this point".
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State now stand at 102,863, nearly half of all COVID-19 cases in the US, where the tally is now 277,953.
New York City alone has 57,159 coronavirus patients.
The state also witnessed the "highest single increase in the number of deaths" in a day on Thursday.
The death toll in the state now stands at 2,935, an increase of 562 deaths in just one day.
More than 6,000 people have died in the US -- 1,562 in New York City alone, according to Johns Hopkins University estimates.