UN Security Council holds first in-person meeting in 4 months

United Nations Security Council chamber at the headquarters in New York City.

United Nations, (Asian independent) The Security Council held an in-person meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, the first of its kind since mid-March when COVID-19 forced the council to convene virtually.

“In light of recent developments regarding the containment of COVID-19 in New York, the UN Security Council together has decided to begin a gradual and phased shift toward in-person meetings here at the UN Headquarters, of course, while ensuring all health precautions,” Christoph Heusgen, the German UN ambassador, told reporters on Tuesday before he presided over the Security Council meeting, Xinhua news agency reported.

The meeting was held in the Economic and Social Council Chamber instead of the Security Council Chamber, where the council usually meets.

The change of venue is obviously out of the need for social distancing. The Security Council Chamber, with a horseshoe-shaped table in the center, is less desirable for such a purpose.

Participants of Tuesday’s meeting were seated sparsely in a large circle in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, with many of them wearing face masks, live video feed shows. Briefers who are currently not in New York delivered their statements via video teleconference.

Reporters were denied physical access to the Economic and Social Council Chamber. The restriction was “to minimize risk,” said the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit on Monday night.

The last in-person meeting of the Security Council was held on March 12.