Australia backs $7.5 trillion plan to kickstart global economy smashed by coronavirus pandemic

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during an unusual G20 Leaders Summit

Australia and other G20 nations have struck a deal to co-ordinate efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, as they collectively pledged $A7.5 trillion to kickstart the global economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined US President Donald Trump and other members of the G20 through a video link-up overnight.

The virtual summit was called by Saudi Arabia, which is chairing the forum this year.

In a communique issued after the meeting, Mr Morrison and other leaders described the pandemic as “a powerful reminder of our interconnectedness and vulnerabilities”.

“This virus respects no borders,” they said.

“Combating this pandemic calls for a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based global response in a spirit of solidarity.”

G20 finance, health and trade ministers are set to meet in coming weeks to develop specific action plans to deal with the economic and health impacts.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and US President Donald Trump during an unusual G20 Leaders Summit to discuss the international coronavirus crisis

AAP

China agreed to increase its supply of pharmaceutical ingredients and other supplies to the international market, in a move that will ease shortages in many countries.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres told the leaders they needed a war-time plan.

“It took the world three months to reach 100,000 confirmed cases of infection,” he said.

“The next 100,000 happened in just 12 days. The third took four days. The fourth, just one and a half.

“This is exponential growth and only the tip of the iceberg.”

The meeting was not open to the media, but some leaders’ statements were issued after it.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during an unusual G20 Leaders Summit to discuss the international coronavirus crisis at Parliament House

AAP

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested setting up a special fund under the IMF that would offer interest-free loans, and he emphasised the need to create “green corridors” for free movement of supplies and technologies intended to deal with the epidemic.

He also proposed a moratorium on sanctions with regard to essential goods.

International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva asked G20 leaders for their backing to double the fund’s $US50 billion ($A84 billion) emergency financing capacity.

She said vulnerable households and businesses need targeted financial support to stay afloat and get back to work quickly.

The final statement pledged “bold and large-scale fiscal support”.

“We commit to do whatever it takes and to use all available policy tools to minimise the economic and social damage from the pandemic, restore global growth, maintain market stability and strengthen resilience.”

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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