Saudi king to chair G20 video summit on coronavirus on March 26
Saudi Arabia's King Salman will chair an emergency virtual summit of G20 leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday to advance the coordinated response to the novel coronavirus pandemic that has claimed nearly 19,000 lives and upended life and businesses across the globe.
Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, last week called for the 'virtual summit' following criticism that the powerful group of major economies had been slow to address the global crisis.
'The Saudi G20 Presidency has set the date of the extraordinary virtual Leaders' Summit for Thursday, March 26. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair the meeting to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications,' an official statement said on Wednesday.
Leaders from G20 nations will be joined by representatives from the coronavirus-affected countries like Italy, Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland.
Several top international organisations such as the UN, the World Bank, the WHO, the World Trade Organisation, the IMF and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will also participate in the summit titled
'G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders' Summit on COVID-19'. Regional organisations will be represented by Vietnam the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Africa the Chair of the African Union (AU), the United Arab Emirates the Chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Rwanda the Chair of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the statement said.
India is a member nation of the G20 group. The other members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US. Prime Minister Modi will participate in the virtual summit, sources said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will also attend the summit.
The announcement of the summit comes as fears grow that the world economy will plunge into recession due to the coronavirus crisis.
Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 18,915 with more than 422,900 cases reported in over 165 countries and territories, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have gone up to 767 with one COVID-19 death reported so far, according to Worldometer, a website which compiles COVID-19 cases.
The number of coronavirus cases in India stood at 562 on Wednesday with nine COVID-19 deaths reported so far, according to Health Ministry data.
In an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus in India, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday announced a nationwide lockdown for three weeks.