- World leaders pledged $5 trillion to avoid a global recession.
- Major steps have been taken by various countries to close their borders, close trade and command more than a quarter of people in the world to remain in their homes.
- Saudi Arabia's King Salman requested the world's most powerful nations to fund research and development of a vaccine.
Officials from the G20 group held an emergency video conference Thursday, promising to work together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and provide greater financial support, particularly for developing economies. The US has taken a particularly hard hit, overtaking China and Italy for the highest number of cases, and reported record unemployment.
World leaders pledged $5 trillion to avoid a global recession. More than 587,000 people around the world are now infected with the new coronavirus, crippling health care systems even in wealthy nations. It has also caused governments around the world to impose quarantines and lockdowns, forcing businesses to close and ruining the lives of billions of people.
In the United States, over 99,000 people have been confirmed infected with the COVID-19 virus. This is greater than Italy (86,498), and China (81,340), where the virus was first introduced in the city of Wuhan last December. Italy still has the highest number of fatalities, at over 9,000.
During their video conference on Thursday, the leaders of the G20 said in a statement that the virus does not discriminate, and pledged to provide “over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.” They also promised greater support for developing nations, where the coronavirus would probably spread after China and then Europe.
At a meeting yesterday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the G20 leaders that, “we are at war with a virus that threatens to tear us apart— if we let it.” He added, “we must help those most at risk, millions of people who are powerless to protect themselves . . . Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.”
Major steps have been taken by various countries to close their borders, close trade and command more than a quarter of people in the world to remain in their homes. The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, told G20 leaders that “our message to the rest of the world is clear: We heed this warning now, support the plan politically and economically today.”
Saudi Arabia, which holds the G20 presidency this year, opened the meeting with an urgent request from King Salman for the world’s most powerful nations to fund research and development of a vaccine against the virus. Among the leaders who participated in the conference were Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, Justin Trudeau of Canada, Narendra Modi of India, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Shinzo Abe of Japan, and Donald Trump of the United States.
The meeting also included Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who shared her home in Berlin, where she is in quarantine after a doctor who gave her a pneumonia vaccine was found with the coronavirus. The summit also involved leaders of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Labor Organization.