The Group of 20 countries on Thursday pledged to put up a “united front” against the coronavirus pandemic, and said they would inject $5 trillion (Rs 374 lakh crore) into the world economy to counter the impact of the crisis, AFP reported. Globally, over 4.92 lakh people have been infected and over 22,000 killed by Covid-19, according to an estimate by Johns Hopkins University.
“We are injecting 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,” the leaders said in a statement after an emergency summit, which was conducted via video conferencing and was hosted by Saudi Arabia.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had last week pushed for an emergency G-20 summit.
The G-20 nations also agreed to cooperate with the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and regional banks to deploy a “robust” financial package to support developing countries in their fight against the pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told world leaders at the G-20 summit that they should put human beings rather than economic targets at the centre of their vision for global prosperity, PTI reported. He called for free and open sharing of medical research for the benefit of humanity.
Modi said there is a need to develop a more adaptive, responsive, affordable and humane healthcare system around the world. “Empowering of World Health Organization is necessary for development of effective vaccines to deal with global pandemics,” Modi said.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia said it is the responsibility of the developed world to lend a helping hand to developing countries, to enable them to build their capacities and improve their infrastructure to fight the virus. “We must have an effective and coordinated response to this pandemic and restore confidence in the global economy,” Salman said, according to Politico.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is not winning the war against Covid-19. He said there is need of a “wartime plan” to handle the crisis.
“It took the world three months to reach 1,00,000 confirmed cases of infection,” Guterres said. “The next 1,00,000 happened in just 12 days. The third took four days. The fourth, just one and a half. This is exponential growth and only the tip of the iceberg. This war needs a wartime plan to fight it.”
Leaders from other affected countries, including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, were also present at the summit.
On Wednesday, financial ratings agency Moody’s estimated that the G-20’s overall Gross Domestic Product would contract by 0.5% this year, with the United States economy shrinking by 2% and the eurozone by 2.2%.
The epicentre of the pandemic shifted from China to Europe this month. At least 7,503 people have died in Italy, 4,089 in Spain, and 1,331 in France. On the other hand, the number of new domestic infections in Wuhan, China, the original epicentre of the outbreak, has closed in on zero – though the country has reported a total of over 81,000 cases.
In India, 694 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus so far, of which 16 have died.