Coronavirus: World Leaders Pledge to Fight Virus in Virtual G20 Summit

  • 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.

The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU). Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since.

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.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

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.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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