Coronavirus: Iraqi officials visit Saudi Arabia in masks, highlighting COVID-19 norms
Iraqi officials wearing face masks and practicing social distancing visited Saudi Arabia this week, highlighting the new normal for state officials amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Images released by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) via its SPAregions Twitter account showed an Iraqi delegation to the Kingdom meeting with Saudi Arabian officials.
he Iraqi delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Ali Allawi, who is also the Acting Minister of Finance and Oil. Allawi and his delegation were met by Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Jadaan and Acting Minister of Media Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi.
Iraq’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Qahtan Taha Khalaf and a representative of the royal protocol were also present at the talks.
While Allawi’s visit is not particularly unusual given the longstanding relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the images of the visit show how coronavirus regulations are being applied even at the level of state visits.
The delegates can be seen entering the majlis wearing face masks as a mask-wearing soldier salutes them. They then pose for a photograph in chairs arranged with suitable distance between them in line with social distancing rules being recommended by governments across the world.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, governments have adapted to integrate technology into foreign policy meetings to avoid the risk of human-to-human transmission and unnecessary travel.
The G20, chaired by Saudi Arabia, has held a series of virtual meetings. Images of world leaders talking to each other from their office via Zoom have now become increasingly common.
Following the success of the G20 meetings, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has recently chaired a series of Saudi cabinet meetings.
Watch: #SaudiArabia’s King Salman is shown giving opening remarks as G20 leaders begin the emergency virtual summit on #coronavirus. Video from the office of French President Emmanuel Macron. https://t.co/8P9Z8ZgYak pic.twitter.com/E0fwCIxQZw— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 26, 2020
In the neighboring UAE, government officials have used virtual meetings to coordinate their COVID-19 response. On Friday, Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed charied a meeting of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in which he praised the emirate’s proactive response to the pandemic.
.@SheikhMansoor, Chairman of #Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management: @HHShkMohd's principles of being proactive and taking preemptive action has enabled us to respond to the global pandemic and minimise its grave repercussions. pic.twitter.com/uyjGer2gZO— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) May 22, 2020