President Donald Trump has scrapped this year's in-person G7 summit set to be held in the United States in June due to the coronavirus crisis and will instead hold the high-profile event through video-conference, the White House has said.
The decision comes as countries around the world seal their borders and ban travel to stop the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed over 9,000 lives so far.
The G7 summit is the latest high-profile event to be cancelled as anxiety over coronavirus puts an end to political gatherings, sports events and musical festivals around the world.
In view of the ongoing coronavirus crisis that has gripped the entire world in an unprecedented way, the G7 summit scheduled to be held at Camp David from June 10-12 has been cancelled so that leaders of these countries can devote their time and energy in addressing the public health challenge, the White House said on Thursday.
"In order for each country to focus all of its resources on responding to the health and economic challenges of COVID-19 and at President Trump's direction, National Economic Council Director and US Sherpa for the 2020 G7 Larry Kudlow has informed his Sherpa colleagues that the G7 Leaders' Summit the US was set to host in June at Camp David will now be done by video-teleconference," White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
"The White House also informed the other G7 members that in order to continue close coordination, the President will convene the leaders' via video teleconference in April and May just as he did this week," Deere said.
Early this week, Trump had a video-conference call with G7 leaders, whose members are the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
In a joint statement, after the video-conference, leaders of G7 acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic was a human tragedy and a global health crisis, which also posed major risks for the world economy.
"We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts. While current challenges may require national emergency measures, we remain committed to the stability of the global economy," they said.
The leaders expressed their conviction that the current challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic needed a strongly coordinated international approach based on science and evidence, consistent with democratic values, and utilising the strengths of private enterprise.
The G7 leaders said they were committed to marshalling the full power of their governments to coordinate on necessary public health measures to protect people at risk of COVID-19; restore confidence, growth, protect jobs, support global trade and investment and encourage science, research and technology cooperation.
In another statement, Deer said Trump spoke with President Emmanuel Macron of France and discussed the latest developments and efforts to combat coronavirus.
"The two leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on resolving the pandemic and minimising its economic impact, in coordination with the G7 and other international partners. The two leaders also discussed telecommunications security and European migration issues," he said.
A total of 218 people have died in the US due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic, while there are 14,299 confirmed infected cases in the country. Coronavirus cases have been reported in all the 50 States in the US and District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico.
Globally, the death toll from the virus has risen to over 9,800 with more than 232,650 cases in 158 countries and territories.