G20 leaders to convene remotely as coronavirus cases near half a million


RIYADH: Leaders from the will speak by video link on Thursday about combating the pandemic and its economic impacts, as global infections top 471,000 with more than 21,000 dead.

ministers and central bankers agreed this week to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession, but they offered few details.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will address the leaders to seek support for ramping up funding and production of personal protection equipment for health workers amid a worldwide shortage.

“We have a global responsibility as humanity and especially those countries like the G20…” Tedros told a conference in Geneva late on Wednesday. “They should be able to support countries all over the world…”

King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which as this year’s G20 chair called for the extraordinary virtual summit, tweeted overnight that its goal was “to unite efforts towards a global response.”

There are growing concerns about protectionist measures being discussed or adopted as countries scramble to respond to the virus. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged G20 leaders to match a pledge by countries like Australia and Canada to keep supply chains open and avoid export controls.

The video-conference scheduled for 1200 GMT also risks complications from an oil price war between two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States

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