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G-7 foreign minister meeting to be held via teleconference

G-7 foreign minister meeting to be held via teleconference
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The State Department announced Wednesday it will host the upcoming Group of Seven (G-7) ministerial meeting by video conference rather than in person amid concerns over the coronavirus.

The meeting between the top foreign affairs officials of the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada had been scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh later this month.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the United States has decided to host the upcoming G7 ministerial virtually by video teleconference instead of gathering in Pittsburgh, March 24-25. We thank the city of Pittsburgh for its willingness to host this year’s G7 ministerial and for the support and assistance planning this year’s event. We look forward to holding future events there,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

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The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the globe. While China, where the epidemic began, has the most confirmed cases, G-7 member Italy has the second-highest number of coronavirus patients at over 10,000, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Over 600 people have died from the virus in that country.

The Italian government has taken drastic measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, instructing the country’s 62 million people to stay home unless they are working or seeking health care or “necessities.” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Wednesday that 25 billion euros, or $28.3 billion, would be dedicated to combating the outbreak and its impact. 

All of the G-7 countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus. The U.S., France and Germany all have had over 1,000 confirmed cases, while Japan and the U.K. have 581 and 382, respectively. Canada has the fewest of all the G-7 countries, with 93 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins data.