Leaders of G20 members vowed on Thursday that they would take “all necessary” measures in areas such as information sharing, vaccine research, medical supplies and economic stimulus of over $5 trillion to contain the global coronavirus pandemic and minimize the economic and social damage, following a rare leaders’ summit that marks a watershed for the global mechanism on public health emergencies.
Addressing the video conference, the first global summit of such high level since the pandemic broke out, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for solidarity and the strictest measures to fight a common enemy and pledged China’s continued support for global efforts to rein in the epidemic and stabilize the economy.
The G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Thursday comes at a time when the pandemic rages across the world. The deadly disease has caused 480,000 infection cases with more than 22,000 deaths.
The first virtual summit of G20 since the group was founded in 1999 aimed to foster a global consensus in countering the threat of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), which has considerable human, social and economic implications.
The world needs to be resolute in fighting an all-out global war against the COVID-19 outbreak. A virus respects no borders, and all must work together to build a strongest global network of pandemic control and treatment that the world has ever seen, Xi said.
Xi pledged that China will make greater efforts to supply medicine, daily necessities and disease prevention materials to the global market. He called on G20 members to take joint action and inject energy to revive the global economy by reducing tariffs and lowering trade barriers.
Xi also urged enhanced international macro-economic policy coordination to prevent the world economy from falling into recession.
The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on G20 countries in a press briefing on Tuesday to stand in solidarity in ensuring protective equipment supplies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Malpass, president of the World Bank, said it will provide critical support and shorten the time to recovery, as some economists have projected that the pandemic will trigger another financial crisis or recession following the shutting down of businesses and people losing their jobs.
G20 leaders agreed at the summit to take all necessary health measures and seek to ensure adequate financing to contain the pandemic and protect people, especially the most vulnerable, and aim to establish a global initiative on pandemic preparedness and response.
Member countries pledged to continue conducting bold and large-scale fiscal support besides injecting more than $5 trillion into the global economy, supporting the measures taken by central banks in supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses.
In tackling the financial crisis in 2008, G20 was successful, some analysts said, noting that this meeting at such critical moment aims to tackle global economic crisis, which needs effective and coordinated measures in facing a looming recession.
Finance ministers and central bank governors were urged at the summit to coordinate on a regular basis to develop a G20 action plan and work closely with international organizations to swiftly deliver the appropriate international financial assistance.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and other high-level officials attended the the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on March 26. Photo: Pang Xinglei/Xinhua
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