09:38 GMT18 May 2021
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    The annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was scheduled to be held from 3 to 6 June in Russia's second-largest city.

    The organising committee of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) has decided not to host the event in 2020 in light of the global spread of the deadly China coronavirus, chairman Andrei Belousov said on Thursday.

    "In order to protect the health of Russian citizens, as well as guests and participants of the forum, we have decided not to hold the event this year", he said.

    According to Belousov, the decision was made after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced an emergency of international importance due to the coronavirus outbreak and information about its spread in the countries participating in the forum.

    As of 5 March, more than 95,700 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, with more than 3,200 deaths, the vast majority of which have been in China, where the virus was first detected. At the same time, more than 53,400 people have recovered.

    The SPIEF is a major global platform for communication between business representatives and the discussion of pressing economic issues.

    In 2019, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum brought together over 19,000 participants from 145 countries, setting a new record in the history of the event.

    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (496)
    coronavirus, cancellation, SPIEF
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