Africa

Commonwealth meeting postponed due to COVID-19

Rwanda still looks forward to hosting meeting once pandemic ends, says country’s president Kagame

James Tasamba   | 21.04.2020
Commonwealth meeting postponed due to COVID-19

KIGALI, Rwanda

The 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was due to take place in Rwandan capital Kigali on June 22-27, has been postponed for an indefinite period due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Commonwealth Secretariat announced Tuesday.

Patricia Scotland, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth, said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of modern history, whereby lives have been lost, economies are shrinking, and livelihoods have been shattered.

“It is difficult to predict what the new normal will look like. We must be mindful of the risks large meetings pose to all,” Scotland said.

She mentioned that the current circumstances require heroic decisions, adding that the organization stand together with Rwanda.

“I warmly look forward to reuniting with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in the beautiful country of Rwanda,” she said.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said his country still looks forward to hosting the meeting once the pandemic ends.

In the coming months, every Commonwealth nation will be fully focused on combatting COVID-19 and its socio-economic impact on people, he said.

“Our organization’s deep reservoirs of solidarity and expertise will be invaluable tools as we work together globally to ensure no country is left behind. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM once the pandemic has been defeated,” Kagame added.

Rwanda, a former Belgian colony, joined the Commonwealth in 2009, association of 54 member states, nearly all former territories of the British Empire.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rwanda remained at 147 on Monday, while the number of recoveries rose to 80, according to the Ministry of Health. No death has been reported in the country so far.

The novel coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in China last December, with the U.S. and Europe being the hardest-hit areas in the world.

More than 2.53 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll more than 17,400 and nearly 670,000 recoveries, according to data compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.

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