(Bloomberg) --

European Union diplomats have been banned from attending most social events at the COP26 climate change talks due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the U.K.  

Two officials attending the United Nations summit in Glasgow, Scotland, said the EU will not host its annual reception, and that guidelines have been issued for socializing in order to prevent the spread of infections. The bloc’s diplomats will be allowed to attend only crucial events at the conference, which runs from Oct. 31-Nov. 12.

The U.K. is reporting around 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day -- numbers not seen since the summer -- and the government is coming under pressure to reimpose restrictions. COP delegates will be required to test for the virus on a daily basis, and vaccines have been offered to people coming from countries without easy access to them.  

“We are working tirelessly with all our partners, including the Scottish government and the UN, to ensure an inclusive, accessible and safe summit in Glasgow,” a COP26 spokesperson said. “There are comprehensive Covid-mitigation measures in place to ensure the health of participants and the local community.”

EU officials said they are watching the virus numbers daily and are prepared to hold all of their own COP events online only, if necessary. Currently all EU-hosted sessions at the summit will be hybrid -- both in-person and digital.

EU leaders will attend some key receptions, but otherwise each invitation will be assessed closely with a great sense of responsibility, according to one of the people. In the last two weeks, the EU has scaled back the number of officials going to Glasgow by about 20% to 30% on the advice of the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the person said. 

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