March 2, 2020 / 7:40 PM / 25 days ago

Two-week U.N. gender equality meeting cut to one day over coronavirus

The United Nations logo is pictured in front of the United Nations Headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - An annual two-week United Nations meeting on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, usually attended by thousands of people from around the world, has been scaled back to a one-day event due the global outbreak of coronavirus.

The Commission on the Status of Women will meet on March 9 to adopt a draft political declaration marking the 25th anniversary of the an historic women’s rights declaration signed in Beijing.

Acting upon recommendations by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the commission said there would be no general debate and dozens of side events would be canceled. It said a full meeting of the commission would be held at a later date.

In a letter on Friday to U.N. member states from the chair of the commission, Armenia’s U.N. Ambassador Mher Margaryan, said Guterres had “also strongly recommended that capital-based representatives refrain from traveling to headquarters.”

The flu-like virus that emerged from central China late last year has spread to about 60 countries, infected more than 85,000 people and killed almost 3,000, mostly in China. So far, 10 U.S. states including California and New York have confirmed or presumed coronavirus cases.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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