The 2020 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings which are scheduled for April may be canceled or held virtually amid growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Wednesday.
The Spring Meetings, scheduled for April 17 through April 19, are set to host at least 10,000 people from around the world at their headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C.
An official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said talks about the meetings were preliminary and will involve testing to see if they could be held virtually.
Though specific officials spoke to Reuters under the condition of anonymity, the two entities also issued a joint statement to the wire service.
“The question of arrangements for the Spring Meetings is one on which Bank and Fund have been coordinating with our respective Corporate Secretariats, which are our primary liaisons with shareholders,” the statement read. “We anticipate a decision on the scale and scope of Spring Meetings will be made in the coming days.”
Reuters recalled that the World Bank previously canceled its meetings after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
The coronavirus has been growing in scope. Thousands of people have been infected, especially in China where the outbreak started.
The virus has spread to Europe as well, with 447 cases confirmed in Italy alone as of Wednesday evening.
In Washington D.C., President Trump announced Vice President Mike Pence would be heading the task force to coordinate the coronavirus response.
Although he said the threat remained low in the United States, the CDC said the spread of the virus to the US was almost inevitable.