OPEC decides to bar media from meeting over coronavirus fears

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OPEC said on Tuesday that media seeking to cover this week’s meeting of oil-producing countries would not be allowed to enter the secretariat where the gathering will take place over coronavirus fears.

“This precautionary measure has become necessary due to the public health risk that would come from convening such a vast number of people in one place,” the Vienna-based organization said in a statement.

The OPEC club of oil-producing countries, led by Saudi Arabia, meets Thursday and Friday in Vienna as they weigh how to react to a sharp drop in global oil demand due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

OPEC said its decision was in line with advice from the host government, Austria, as well as the United Nations, recommending shortening gatherings and limiting participant numbers.

It said it would “keep members of the press fully informed of any decisions taken,” adding it was also limiting the number of delegates “to a bare minimum” amid other recommended precautionary measures.

The extraordinary meeting will see OPEC and its allies in the so-called OPEC+ group - foremost among them Russia - discuss how to halt the sharp fall in oil prices in the past two months as the epidemic has spread.

Usually media gather in the OPEC secretariat’s pressroom to attend press conferences and talk to delegates.

Check out our dedicated coronavirus site here.

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