US World Bank nominee Ajay Banga tests positive for COVID in India, meetings canceled

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US World Bank nominee Ajay Banga tested positive for COVID-19 while on an official visit to India, according to a statement released Friday.

Banga, a native of India, arrived on Thursday for a two-day visit as part of a wider three-week global tour.

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He was supposed to meet with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman before a routine COVID-19 test revealed a positive result. India has seen a rise in COVID-19 infections in the past few weeks.

As per local guidelines, Banga is now quarantining in isolation, according to a US treasury department statement, and remains asymptomatic.

All meetings have been canceled, according to a Times of India report.

India’s government endorsed the candidacy of Banga, a longtime finance and development executive who is now a US citizen, soon after his nomination was announced in late February.

US President Joe Biden nominated Banga, 63, to replace David Malpass, who announced his resignation after months of controversy over his initial failure to say he backed the scientific consensus on climate change.

He has won the support of enough other governments to virtually assure his confirmation as the next World Bank president, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Russia, meanwhile, is consulting with its allies about challenging the US nominee, a move that could complicate what was expected to be a smooth succession process.

With Reuters

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