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(Barbados Today) – The coronavirus pandemic has caused the annual July summit of CARICOM leaders to be postponed by two months.

Plans are continuing for a virtual meeting on July 3 when Prime Minister Mia Mottley will hand over the chairmanship of the 15-member regional grouping to St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for the next six months, the Caribbean Media Corporation has reported.

The regional leaders are likely to meet, probably in St Vincent, the venue of the July summit, on September 2nd and 3rd for a face-to-face meeting of the grouping

Many Caribbean countries are now emerging from a virtual lockdown of their borders and economies as they implemented measures to prevent the spread of the virus that has so far killed 432,000 people and infected eight million others worldwide since it was first detected in China last December.

CARICOM countries have reported in excess of 6,000 positive cases of the virus, with Haiti, 4,441 and Jamaica, 621 among the regional countries with the most cases. The number of people killed by the virus is in excess of 100 with Haiti registering the highest, 76.

In February, regional leaders met in Barbados for their 31st Inter-sessional summit. They discussed the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME); the Report on the Commission on the Economy; the engagement with the private sector, labour and civil society; CARICOM advocacy against blacklisting, De-Risking and withdrawal of correspondent banking.

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