The Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, has postponed its 2020 General Assembly in view of the rising Covid-19 cases and death rates in various parts of the world.

In a statement issued on October 23, the organisation’s Executive Committee said it was both “inadvisable and materially impossible” to hold the 89th General Assembly anywhere in the world in 2020. The meeting was scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates.

“The United Arab Emirates authorities worked extremely hard to identify solutions to the problems presented by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Secretary General Jurgen Stock. “However, unfortunately it is not possible for the General Assembly to go ahead as planned.” The secretary general added that the daily work of supporting the 194 member countries in combating transnational crime and terrorism will remain unaffected.

The organisation also said that a virtual assembly was not possible because of legal, technical and logistical reasons.

With the meeting postponed, all statutory items will remain pending till the next session of the General Assembly is held, except the budget, which can be approved exceptionally by the Executive Committee. The major items postponed include elections for the Executive Committee and the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files.

The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files plays an important role in deciding the red notices cases after analysing the presentations made by fugitives, according to the Hindustan Times. Any accused, who has fled his country, can petition the organisation on grounds of being targeted for political and religious reasons.

The new date for the meeting has not yet been announced. India was slated to host the 91st General Assembly of Interpol in 2022. It is not yet clear if the postponement would affect future meetings.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 4.68 crore people and killed 12,05,048, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Over 3.12 crore people have recovered from the infection.