U.S. nominee for World Bank President Ajay Banga has tested positive for COVID-19 following which the meetings scheduled during his two-day visit to India have been cancelled.
According to a Finance Ministry statement, Mr. Banga's meeting with Nirmala Sitharaman would not happen as he is in quarantine.
"During routine testing, Ajay Banga tested positive for COVID-19 but remains asymptomatic. In adherence with local guidelines, he is quarantining in isolation," the statement said.
The US Embassy spokesperson said, “Mr. Banga tested positive upon arrival in Delhi. Mr. Banga has conducted multiple tests for COVID during his tour, and tested negative before departing for India.”
“Mr. Banga hadn’t met any Indian counterparts before he tested positive for COVID. He is quarantining in isolation, in adherence to local guidelines,” the spokesperson added.
Besides meeting with the Union Finance Minister, Mr. Banga was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and top officials during his two-day visit from March 23 to 24.
Mr. Banga's New Delhi visit is the final stop on his three-week global tour that began in Africa before progressing to Europe, Latin America, and Asia to drum up support for his candidature for the World Bank's top position.
In a statement on March 22, the US Treasury Department had said, "While in India, Banga will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar.
"These discussions will focus on India's development priorities, the World Bank, and global economic development challenges," it said.
(With PTI inputs)