India was among several other countries, including South Africa and Australia, who were invited to a G7 meeting ahead of the summit next month. India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar confirmed two members of the delegation had tested positive for coronavirus and all members were now required to self-isolate, forcing them to attend meetings virtually. Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi was grilled over the development during his Sky News interview on early Wednesday morning but admitted it was “news to him”.
Home Secretary Priti Patel met with the Indian Foreign Minister on Tuesday who was tested for coronavirus but came back negative.
Public Health England confirmed the Home Secretary will not be required to self-isolate because of the strict social distancing followed during the meeting.
The Foreign Minister also met with other delegates during the G7 meeting who are now undergoing testing.
A senior UK diplomat said: “We deeply regret that Foreign Minister Dr Jaishankar will be unable to attend the meeting today in person and will now attend virtually, but this is exactly why we have put in place strict Covid protocols and daily testing.”
Coronavirus cases in India have surged in recent weeks off the back of several “super-spreader” events.
The Indian Government also lifted several restrictions after seeing a fall in cases that have now reached as high as 200,000 daily infections.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi appeared on Sky News to discuss the Government’s latest investment into blood testing infrastructure.
But Sky News host Stephen Dixon used the opportunity to quiz the minister over rumoured reports that delegates were self-isolating at the G7.
The news, which was not confirmed until after the interview, came as a surprise to Mr Zahawi who said: “I don’t [know], I’m afraid, I don’t know the numbers.
“This is news to me, I can’t really comment on this.”
The G7 was also an opportunity for the US and UK to meet and discuss joint approaches to threats.
Mr Raab said “diplomacy was back” following several meetings with foreign delegates and stressed the importance of getting countries together.
Sky News’ political correspondent Joe Pike wrote on Twitter discussing the outbreak: “Hearing there is a COVID scare amongst India’s G7 delegates. Foreign Office keeping tight-lipped about who or where.
“India not a member of G7 but they are attending and there is Indian delegation in London.
“Nadhim Zahawi told @skynews this morning it was ‘news to me’.”