Although not a member of the G7, India was among other countries invited to attend the group’s first face-to-face foreign ministers meeting for more than two years in London this week.
The meeting has been described as “secure COVID talks” ahead of the full June G7 summit in Cornwall.
It is understood that the two members of the Indian delegation tested positive for COVID on Tuesday following PCR tests as part of Public Health England’s testing program.
Although the Indian delegation has yet to attend the G7 meetings at Lancaster House in London, where talks took place on Tuesday, it was due to do so on Wednesday.
They will now participate virtually in these meetings.
However, Indian ministers and officials had further meetings ahead of their scheduled participation in the Lancaster House talks.
Home Secretary Priti Patel met Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Tuesday as the couple signed a new UK-India migration deal.
Sky News understands that Dr Jaishankar has not tested positive, Ms Patel will not self-isolate.
Was made aware last night of exposure to possible positive Covid cases. As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in virtual mode. This will also be the case with the G7 meeting today.
– Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 5, 2021
Dr Jaishankar posted on Twitter Wednesday morning: “Was informed last night of exposure to possible positive Covid cases.
“As a precaution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in virtual mode.
“This will also be the case with the G7 meeting today. “
Dr Jaishankar also met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.
As mask-wearing and social distancing were observed during in-person meetings of the Indian delegation this week, it is understood that Public Health England does not see the need for delegation contacts to self-isolate as well.
A senior British diplomat said: ‘We deeply regret that Dr Jaishankar cannot attend the meeting today in person but will now attend virtually, but that is exactly why we have put in place strict COVID protocols. and daily tests. “
The Indian delegation received diplomatic exemptions from UK quarantine rules upon arrival in the UK, although a daily testing regime is in place.
All other G7 participants will continue to be tested daily and strict social distancing protocols will remain in place.
On Wednesday morning, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said he was unaware of reports that G7 delegates were self-isolating following a COVID alert.
Asked Sky News if he knew how many of them were isolating themselves, he said: ‘I’m not afraid, but obviously Public Health England and the team running the G7 are taking this very seriously.
“We continue to have one of the most robust testing protocols so we will make sure that happens, but I don’t know the numbers.
He added: “This is news for me… I can’t really comment. “
The Indian delegation visited London amid a recent spike in COVID cases in their home country, which has led to a rush for oxygen and other medical supplies in Indian hospitals.
The UK has been among the international donors of supplies, with UK aid including a shipment of ventilators.