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OPEC monitoring suspected Vienna coronavirus case ahead of March 5-6 meeting

London — OPEC is monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 virus ahead of its scheduled March 5-6 meeting, Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said Thursday, as a suspected case of the infection was reported in Vienna near the secretariat.

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As of now, plans for the meeting have not been changed, OPEC officials told S&P Global Platts.

"We have to keep monitoring and pray," Barkindo said from Saudi Arabia, where he was attending a carbon capture conference hosted by Saudi Aramco. "Risky times."

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A school in central Vienna was evacuated after a teacher was suspected of contracting the virus, local media reported Thursday. The school is in Vienna's Josefstadt district, about 2 km from OPEC's secretariat.

OPEC and its allies are under pressure to respond to the oil market impact of the coronavirus with additional production cuts, and next week's meeting will decide the future of the coalition's current 1.7 million b/d supply cut accord, which expires at the end of March.

The 23-country group, known as OPEC+, is weighing a recommendation to cut its quotas by another 600,000 b/d, but Russia, the key non-OPEC partner, has yet to commit.