G20 leaders hold online crisis talks on coronavirus pandemic

G20 leaders said Thursday that their countries pledged $5 trillion to battle the spreading coronavirus pandemic, calling it their “absolute priority” to tackle its health, social and economic impacts.

During a video conference of the world’s major economies, the leaders said they were committed to restoring confidence, preserving financial stability and reviving growth.

“We are injecting over US $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 online summit, France 24 reported.

The leaders said they were committed to resolving disruptions to global supply chains and asked finance ministers and central bank governors to coordinate regularly together and with international organizations to develop an action plan in response to the pandemic.

They also pledged to work swiftly with multilateral bodies, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and regional banks, to deploy a “robust” financial package to support developing nations.

The statement came at the end of a 90-minute video conference to coordinate action over the outbreak, which has infected more than 470,000 people and killed more than 22,000 worldwide.

President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that he would discuss the meeting during a White House news conference later Thursday.

“I will be doing a News Conference live from the @WhiteHouse at 5:00 P.M. (Eastern) to discuss the mtg of the G20 Leaders that took place this morning at 7:55 A.M. by World Teleconference,” he wrote.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the pandemic threatened the entire globe.

“COVID-19 is threatening the whole of humanity,” Guterres said as some 3 billion people remain under lockdown around the globe due to COVID-19, which has claimed over 22,000 lives, including 994 in the US, where 68,440 people are infected, according to the CDC.

“Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” he added, according to Agence France-Presse.

The worldwide restrictions could unleash the deepest recession in recent history, economists say.

“The G20 economies will experience an unprecedented shock in the first half of this year and will contract in 2020 as a whole,” according to ratings agency Moody’s.

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