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21 May 2024

New Zealand to host virtual APEC 2021 summit

Photo: AFP


New Zealand will use virtual digital platforms to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, summit next year, Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday attributed the decision to uncertainty around travel due to the coronavirus.

"What we've done is we've determined that actually for the sake of certainty, let's just plan for that virtual gathering," Ardern said at a media briefing in Wellington.

"That means that we don't have the added cost, the added disruption that the uncertainty of COVID brings."

New Zealand, early this month, lifted all social and economic restrictions except border controls, after declaring it was free of the coronavirus, while many countries are still grappling to contain the spread of the disease.

Ardern said the country has no plans to reopen its borders now as infection rates around the world were still going up.

"There is a time in the future we'll be opening our borders but to suggest that time is now when the virus is getting worse is frankly dangerous," she said.

Leaders of the 21 member countries were to gather for the APEC 2021 summit in New Zealand at the end of next year.