The UN has postponed a critical climate summit in Glasgow over coronavirus concerns.

The Cop26 summit due to take place in November has been postponed until 2021.

Some 200 world leaders, 30,000 delegates and thousands of journalists were due to descend on Scotland for the United Nations summit.

But the virus has so far infected more than half a million people across 199 countries.

The decision was made on Wednesday night by representatives of the COP Bureau of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) with the UK and its Italian partners, to change the date in light of the pandemic.

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COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said: "The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26.

"We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing a new date for the conference."

UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said: "COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.

"Soon, economies will restart. This is a chance for nations to recover better, to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and a chance to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient.

"In the meantime, we continue to support and to urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement."

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Finnish Minister of the environment and climate Krista Mikkonen said work must not ground to a halt in light of the pause.

She wrote: "UN climate change conference #COP26 in Glasgow has been postponed due to #COVID-19.

"Right decision, but work must continue.

"EU must lead the way and update its 2030 NDC as soon as possible."