July 9, 2020 / 9:55 PM / a month ago

IMF, World Bank confirm plans for 'primarily virtual' annual meetings

FILE PHOTO: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks at the Global Women's Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 16, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The leaders of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Thursday confirmed that they were preparing to hold their annual meetings in October largely online given the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass said they were recommending the annual meetings, set for Oct. 12-18, be held in a “primarily virtual format.”

They said they remained flexible about the format of the talks, depending on developments, and would work to accommodate the needs of their members.

Malpass first disclosed the plans for virtual annual meetings in a letter to the Bank’s governors on Monday.

The decision to meet virtually, rather than in person in Washington, was widely expected given rising infections in the United States, and continuing travel restrictions. More than 60,000 new COVID-19 infections were reported across the United States on Wednesday, the greatest single-day tally by any country since the virus emerged late last year in China.

The spring meetings were also held virtually in April.

The institutions’ semi-annual meetings 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 annual events including meetings of the IMF’s 24-member International Monetary Fund and Financial Committee (IMFC) and the Development Committee, which oversees the work of the World Bank, as well as many smaller meetings throughout the week.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis

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