Sunday, February 25, 2024

World Bank president nominee Ajay Banga, scheduled to meet PM Modi, tests COVID-19 positive

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World Bank presidential nominee Ajay Banga has tested positive for COVID-19 during routine testing in New Delhi where he was travelling on the last leg of his world tour, and is currently quarantining in isolation, the Department of Treasury said Thursday. India is witnessing a spike in influenza and coronavirus cases in the past two weeks. 

The country has recorded 1,134 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases increased to 7,026, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. Banga’s New Delhi visit (March 23 and March 24) is the final stop on his three-week global tour that began in Africa before progressing to Europe, Latin America and Asia.

“During routine testing, Ajay Banga tested positive for COVID-19 but remains asymptomatic. In adherence with local guidelines, he is quarantining in isolation,” the Department of Treasury said Thursday afternoon.

While in India, 63-year-old Banga was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Treasury said in a previous statement. India endorsed Banga’s candidacy soon after his nomination was announced.

Since then, a diverse coalition of governments has expressed their support for Banga, including Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom.

During his global listening tour, Banga met with senior government officials, stakeholders, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society.

Along the way, he has built continuous momentum for his candidacy, gaining the support of advocates, academics, development experts, executives, Nobel Laureates, and former government officials.

If elected to serve, Banga will draw from his experience living and working in emerging markets and his expertise in forging public-private partnerships to mobilise investments and action to confront longstanding challenges.

That includes his efforts at Mastercard to successfully bring 500 million previously unbanked people into the digital economy, as well as its support for 50 million small businesses.

New Delhi logged 84 coronavirus cases with a positivity rate of 5.08 per cent on Wednesday, according to data shared by the health department.

The city has seen an increase in the number of fresh Covid infections over the last few days, amid a sharp rise in H3N2 influenza cases in the country.

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