G20 In Virtual Huddle As Virus Toll Tops 21,000
Umer Jamshaid 7 days ago Thu 26th March 2020 | 04:50 PM
World leaders are to hold online crisis talks Thursday on the coronavirus pandemic that has forced three billion people into lockdown and claimed more than 21,000 lives
Madrid, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Mar, 2020 ) :World leaders are to hold online crisis talks Thursday on the coronavirus pandemic that has forced three billion people into lockdown and claimed more than 21,000 lives.
"COVID-19 is threatening the whole of humanity," he said. "Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough." The global lockdown -- which also took in India's huge population this week -- tightened further Thursday as Russia announced it was grounding all international flights, while Moscow's mayor ordered the closure of cafes, shops and parks.
Economists say the restrictions imposed around the world could cause the most violent recession in recent history.
"The G20 economies will experience an unprecedented shock in the first half of this year and will contract in 2020 as a whole," ratings agency Moody's said.
Unemployment rates are expected to soar -- as much as 30 percent in the US -- according to James Bullard, president of the St Louis Federal Reserve.
Leaders of the G20 major economies will hold a virtual huddle later Thursday in the shadow of such dire predictions.
"As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response," tweeted the king of Saudi Arabia. Saudi currently holds the rotating G20 presidency.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said richer nations needed to offer support to low and middle income countries.
Hundreds of medical staff are undergoing 14-day self-quarantines after suspected exposure, the hospitals said.
Globally the number of infections is closing in on half a million.
The rocketing infection rate in the US has sparked a rush to buy weapons, gun store owners told AFP, with customers panicking about societal breakdown.
"A lot of people are buying shotguns, handguns, AR-15 (semi-automatic rifles), everything," said Tiffany Teasdale, who sells guns in Washington state.
"A lot of people are scared that someone is going to break into their home... to steal cash, their toilet paper, their bottled water, their food." Around half of the US population is under lockdown, but President Donald Trump said he would decide soon whether unaffected parts of the country can get back to work.
"We want to get our country going again," Trump said. "I'm not going to do anything rash or hastily.
"By Easter we'll have a recommendation and maybe before Easter," he added.
"Every one of the nations that were at that meeting this morning was deeply aware of the disinformation campaign that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in to try and deflect from what has really taken place," Pompeo told reporters.
But any notion of unity after the videoconference among the G7, which also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, was dashed by the lack of a joint statement -- often a formality at such gatherings.
Reports suggested the statement was scuttled by Pompeo's insistence that it use the term "Wuhan virus" -- a phrase frowned upon by medical professionals who say it is stigmatising.
Iran's death toll surpassed 2,200 Thursday and Spain's topped 4,000. Meanwhile health experts cautioned that the sewage-soaked alleyways and bamboo shacks that are home to one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh provide fertile ground for the spread of the disease.