Multilateralism is poised to acquire a new currency during the coronavirus crisis. The G-20 presidency has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for a virtual summit to discuss the coronavirus situation, hours after the Indian leader held a phone conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concerning the meeting.
After their talks, Saudi Arabia announced that it was communicating with other countries for an extraordinary summit of G-20 leaders next week to advance a joint response to the pandemic, which has spread to more than 160 countries this week, raising serious health and economic concerns. So far, nearly 182,000 people were infected, including some 7,000 deaths worldwide.
“The G-20 will act, alongside international organisations, in any way deemed necessary to alleviate the impact of the pandemic. G-20 leaders will put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy,” the G-20 Secretariat in Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the G-20 Presidency, said in a statement. The announcement came soon after Mr Modi’s phone conversation with the Saudi Prince in which he had stressed the need for a coordinated effort by G-20 countries to effectively address the threats posed by coronavirus.
The Indian leader also mentioned the recent SAARC initiative to organize a video conference to discuss the situation in the member countries. The leaders agreed that a similar exercise at the G-20 level would be useful on a global scale. Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had disclosed that Modi had taken the initiative to organize a link up among G-20 leaders to combat the pandemic and promised his full support to his proposal.
The G-20 is an association of 20 major global economies: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
Covid-19 cases in India
India has reported 113 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection across 15 states as of March 18. Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have reported the most number of cases with 36, 24 and 14, respectively. Three people from Delhi, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have died from the disease so far, while 14 people from five states have been discharged from hospitals after cure. India’s Union Health Ministry has announced an extensive list of do’s and don’ts, travel restrictions as well as advisories to the hospitals and health institutions to curb the spread of the virus.
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