Xi Jinping calls for a global COVID-19 'firewall' at G20 summit

  • Xi Jinping calls for a global COVID-19 'firewall' at G20 summit

Xi Jinping calls for a global COVID-19 'firewall' at G20 summit

On the first day of the summit, which was held online on Saturday, world leaders discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, post-coronavirus economic recovery, and stressed the need to make treatment and vaccines against the virus accessible.

Keen to be better prepared for any potential next pandemic that might come, G20 leaders also said they would commit "to advancing global pandemic preparedness, prevention, detection, and response" and "to the continued sharing of timely, transparent, and standardised data and information".

"We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance to our peoples through adopting policies to mitigate this crisis", King Salman said in his remarks.

While the global economy is recovering from the depths of the crisis, momentum is slowing in countries with resurgent infection rates and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the summit.

The pandemic has had far-reaching economic impact on developing countries, but has also plagued the world's wealthiest nations, with nine G-20 countries ranking highest globally for the most cases of COVID-19 recorded.

The virus shows no signs of abating as major cities in the USA and Europe bring back lockdowns and curfews.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the summit, which had been scheduled originally to be held in Riyadh, to be conducted virtually. The group's member-countries represent around 85% of the world's economic output and three-quarters of worldwide trade.

"Our fates are in each other's hands", he said.

Debt relief for Africa will be an important theme of the Italian presidency of the G-20 next year.

"We must also continue to support the global economy and reopen our economies and borders to facilitate the mobility of trade and people", King Salman said.

President Trump, meanwhile, is among other G-20 leaders expected to participate in the closed-door virtual sessions that are taking place Saturday and Sunday.

"Family Photo" for annual G20 Summit World Leaders is projected onto Salwa Palace in At-Turaif, one of Saudi Arabia's UNESCO World Heritage sites, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, November 20, 2020.

The programme promotes an equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines including poor countries to rein in the pandemic.

"We must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples", he told the group via video link.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to provide Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow was also preparing a second and third vaccine. The event has revived discussion about the kingdom's human rights abuses, on an uptick under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has rolled out a rapid succession of reforms while also forcefully stamping out dissent in the kingdom.

He called on more G-20 nations to join COVAX, an global initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide.

Under Mr Trump, the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change, but the decision is likely to be reversed by President-elect Joe Biden.