Coronavirus Takes Center Stage at G20 Summit


Coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed over 1.37million lives worldwide, has center-stage at the G20 summit. The annual Group of 20 summits, which commenced on Saturday, was formally opened by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. 2020s summit has been transformed into a virtual two-day gathering of declarations and speeches, away from the norm of the in-person meeting.

The summit comes after the March emergency meeting held by the G20 heads of state, where they vowed: “to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”

King Salman’s opening remarks and Coronavirus

In his opening remarks, King Salman expressed his optimism in the development of the coronavirus vaccine and called for better preparations for future pandemics.

“Although we are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all people. At the same time, we must prepare better for any future pandemic,” he said.

King Salman also called for support to the developing countries in order to maintain the development already achieved in the past decades.

Scope of G20 Summit

G20 comprises the world’s richest economies, and its members account for 75 percent of global trade, two-thirds of the world population, and 85 percent of the world economy. Some G20 members include the likes of the UK, US, China, India, France, Brazil, and Turkey, among others.

This year’s summit is being hosted virtually by Saudi Arabia, which holds the 2020 G20 presidency. The theme ‘Realizing opportunities of the 21st Century for all’. As part of the summit this year, seven leaders have released video messages on “Pandemic Preparedness and Response.”


G20 leaders also infected by Corona Virus

COVID-19 has cut across both economies and social classes. Some leaders who are part of the G20 2020 summit have also contracted the disease this year. These leaders include Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and President Trump.

Boris, who plans to attend two virtual events of the summit while self-isolating at his London home, remarked that, “our fates are in each other’s hands.”

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro, in a video message, stressed that the world leaders “should take care of people’s health and of the economy at the same time.”

Lastly, President Trump is expected to take part in the closed-door virtual sessions scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, among other leaders.

G20 Summit Agendas

According to Aljazeera, high on the G20 Summit agenda is the purchases and global distribution of vaccines, drugs, and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves. The European Union will urge the G20 to invest $4.5bn to help.

European Union is also expected to propose a treaty on pandemics to enable a quick and more coordinated response to pandemics.

Economic recovery will also be discussed during the summit. This is after the UN secretary-general called on the G20 to expand the scope to middle-income countries in need and extend debt repayments through the end of 2021. G20 had earlier agreed to suspend debt payment for the world’s poorest countries until mid-2021.




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