This is due to various concerns over the health and safety of participants following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).

A joint statement issued by the two Bretton Woods institutions said the 7-day event will now be restricted to a virtual format with delegates, government officials among others not required to travel to Washington DC for the meetings.

“Like everyone else around the world, we have been deeply concerned by the evolving situation of the Coronavirus and the human tragedy surrounding it. Given growing health concerns related to the virus, the Management of the IMF and World Bank Group and their Executive Boards have agreed to implement a joint plan to adapt the 2020 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings to a virtual format,” the statement said.

Adding that “Our goal is to serve our membership effectively while ensuring the health and safety of Spring Meetings participants and staff.”

The joint statement by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank Group President David Malpass said, “We remain fully committed to maintaining a productive dialogue with our stakeholders and will leverage our IT-related and virtual connection capabilities to the fullest to hold our essential policy consultations with the membership."

"We will also continue to share IMF and World Bank analyses. With this adapted format, we are confident that our member countries will be able to effectively engage on pressing global economic issues at these Spring Meetings.”

About the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19)

As of 4 March 2020, more than 93,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, of which 7,100 were classified as serious. 80 countries and territories have been affected, with major outbreaks in Central China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

More than 3,200 people have died: almost 3,000 in mainland China and more than 220 in other countries. More than 50,000 people have recovered.