South Korea is reconsidering plans to host a major international conference on UN peacekeeping and some other diplomatic events scheduled for next month on concerns about the spread of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry is supposed to host the 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial on December 7-8 and the Korea-Africa forum on the following days, but concerns over the latest variant, first reported in southern Africa, have cast a cloud over the relevant plans, Yonhap news agency reported.
“As the Omicron virus has been rapidly spreading, the government is reconsidering (plans for) the upcoming events scheduled in December. We will share additional details later (with you),” Ahn Eun-ju, the ministry’s deputy spokesperson, said in a press briefing.
The UN peacekeeping forum was expected to be the nation’s largest in-person international conference since the pandemic, but the ministry was forced to reconsider the plan to invite guests from over 100 nations due to a travel ban on foreign arrivals from eight African countries.
“We have been consulting (with the UN) over various options,” a foreign ministry official said.
The ministry has also been consulting with members of the African Union, the co-organiser of the forum, over potential changes to the meeting, with consultations with local health authorities under way as well, the official said.