The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, citing growing concerns about the fast-spreading coronavirus, on Tuesday said they will adopt a “virtual format” for their Spring Meetings instead of convening in person in Washington.
The institutions’ Spring Meetings, scheduled this year for April 17-19, usually bring some 10,000 government officials, business people, civil society representatives and journalists from across the globe to a tightly packed, two-block area of downtown Washington that houses their headquarters.
The institutions began considering the move, first reported by Reuters last week, as the disease continued to spread rapidly around the world after emerging in China in late December.
There are now almost 91,000 cases globally, including 80,000 in China, and over 3,000 people have died. Infections have appeared in 77 countries and territories outside China, with Argentina the latest to report its first case.
The coronavirus outbreak is plunging the world economy into its worst downturn since the global financial crisis more than 10 years ago, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned on Monday.