President Donald Trump has canceled June’s in-person meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven nations, which was set to take place at Camp David, as the world fights the spread of the coronavirus.
Instead, the summit will be conducted by video conference. The move adheres to guidelines about social distancing for combating the virus’ spread.
Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told his G-7 counterparts about the change, according to White House spokesman Judd Deere.
The president will also hold video conferences with the leaders in May and April, Deere added. Trump and the other G-7 chiefs held a video conference earlier this week, as well, as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States and abroad.
Trump has said the coronavirus crisis in the United States, which has rocked markets and spurred fears of a recession, could last until July or August.
The G-7 consists of the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany. Italy is among the hardest-hit nations by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, while the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tested positive for the illness. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned earlier in March that up to 70% of Germans could be infected.
The move to avoid transmission even at the high-profile G-7 summit offers the latest example of how the coronavirus’ rapid spread across the globe has upended normal behavior at every level of society.
The deadly COVID-19 illness, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has now traveled to dozens of countries globally. More than 242,000 cases are confirmed worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Trump had originally planned to hold the meeting at his Doral resort in Florida, but he changed the location to Camp David after he was criticized for self-dealing.