World leaders to meet virtually to coordinate response to coronaviruses

World leaders to meet virtually to coordinate response to coronaviruses

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The leaders of the world most powerful economies will meet practically Thursday to try to coordinate a response to the rapid spread coronavirus, which closed businesses and forced more than a quarter of the world’s population into family isolation.

The meeting of the Group of 20 Nations will be chaired by the King of Saudi Arabia Salman. The kingdom, which chairs the G20 this year, said it had organized the special meeting to advance global efforts to fight the pandemic and its economic implications, as people lose their income due to closures, covers lights and closures.

The meeting comes amid criticism that the wealthiest countries in the world have failed to take consistent action to combat the virus or its economic impact on people around the world.

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A worker sprays disinfectant on the pedestrian bridge at the Senayan sports complex in the midst of a coronavirus epidemic in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, March 26, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially the elderly and people with existing health conditions, it can cause more serious illness or death. (Photo AP / Dita Alangkara)

Saudi Arabia has also been criticized for rocking oil markets by increasing production next month and cutting prices to gain market share after Russia, another major G20 oil producer, refused to extend a production reduction agreement that had supported crude prices.

The United States has already called on Saudi Arabia to rethink its strategy. In a call this week to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that Saudi Arabia, as a G20 leader and a prominent energy leader, “has a real opportunity seize the opportunity and reassure global energy and financial markets ”in this period of economic uncertainty.

The global death toll from the new coronavirus, which causes a disease called COVID-19, has exceeded 21,000 and the number of infections has exceeded 472,000, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll in the United States rose to 1,041 Wednesday evening, with nearly 70,000 infections. The death toll in Spain has exceeded 3,400, overshadowing that in China, where the virus was first detected in December.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which go away within two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death.

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There was sparring this week among the foreign ministers of the Group of 7 main industrialized democracies on the advisability of calling China as the source of the coronavirus. The ministers were unable to agree on an attempt by the United States to identify the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus”, in reference to the city of China where it first appeared. As a result, the foreign ministers have chosen not to issue a group statement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among the heads of state to participate in the G20 leaders’ summit on Thursday. The virtual summit will also include leaders from the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Labor Organization and others.

Representatives from Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland will also participate in the call, as well as presidents of regional bodies such as the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The International Labor Organization says that almost 40% of the world population does not have health insurance or access to national health services and that 55% – or 4 billion people – do not benefit from any form of protection social. He said the current health crisis clearly shows that governments have not made enough progress since the 2008 financial crisis to expand access to health services, sickness benefits and unemployment protection.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have appealed to G20 countries ahead of Thursday’s meeting, warning of serious economic and social consequences for developing countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population and where most people reside. the poorest in the world.

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The lenders called for a suspension of debt payments to these countries and asked the G20 leaders to instruct the World Bank and the IMF to make the necessary assessments on the countries that have unsustainable debt situations and needs. immediate funding.

“It is imperative at this time to provide a sense of global relief to developing countries as well as a strong signal to the financial markets,” the lenders said in a joint statement.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the lender is “ready to deploy all of our $ 1 trillion lending capacity”. She said earlier this week that the IMF expects a recession at least as severe as during the 2008 global financial crisis or worse. Nearly 80 countries seek IMF assistance.

The Ethiopian government has told G20 finance ministers and central bankers in a call before Thursday’s summit that Africa needs $ 150 billion in emergency funding due to the impact of the virus.

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