Saudi-led G20 coronavirus videoconference will recognize countries ‘cannot fight this fight alone’

Medical vehicles, seen on March 23, 2020 outside Jeddah's King Fahad Medical City, are to be used in the campaign to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. (Saudi Defense Ministry/Handout via REUTERS)
Short Url
Updated 26 March 2020

Saudi-led G20 coronavirus videoconference will recognize countries ‘cannot fight this fight alone’

  • The meeting, to be chaired by King Salman, will take place on March 26
  • Saudi Arabia holds the G20 presidency this year

JEDDAH: Leaders from the G20 will hold a videoconference to “advance a coordinated global response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and its human and economic implications,” according to a statement published by the Saudi secretariat. The meeting, to be chaired by King Salman, will take place on March 26. Saudi Arabia holds the G20 presidency this year.

The meeting is set to discuss the implications of the global pandemic — which has now infected more than 430,000 globally in 196 countries and territories, its social and economic impact, and measures to stave off a global economic recession. Representatives from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will also participate.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, told Arab News that the G20 has never been more relevant than it is today. 




Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri

“The G20 represents a structure which includes the world’s twenty largest national economies,” he said. “This summit is exceptional as it will not only focus on the implications for the health of global citizens due to the spread of coronavirus, but also on the threat it poses to economies, global food security and many other issues.

“I think 70-80 percent of the summit will focus on these discussion points. The world’s largest economies are bearing a heavy burden as they provide support to many developing countries facing this pandemic and a roadmap must be put in place to face the crisis,” Al-Shehri continued, adding that unity was vital, as countries “can’t fight this fight alone.” Without a united global front, he said, the economic and health implications of the virus will be much harder to overcome.

The virtual summit, Al-Shehri believes, will encourage greater coordination and critical exchange of experience and knowledge. 

The government of Saudi Arabia has, like many others around the world, taken extreme precautionary measures as a result of the call for international coordination and multilateral efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. This has played an important role in ensuring the safety and well-being of residents of the Kingdom, but also of other countries. 

“Saudi Arabia was (one of the first countries) to send emergency medical aid to China at the beginning of the outbreak,” said Lina K. Almaeena, Saudi Shoura Council member.




Lina K. Almaeena

“The Kingdom has also responded to the WHO’s urgent appeal and has provided $10 million in financial support. It has taken bold and assertive measures to curb the spread of the virus by suspending schools, Umrah pilgrimage, and travel to and from the country as a means to protect citizens and residents of all nationalities and religions living within its borders, as well as guaranteeing medical treatment to all.

“The coronavirus has made it clearer than ever that we are all global citizens,” Almaeena continued. “I hope that the virtual G20 Summit — led by Saudi Arabia — will come up with innovative recommendations that will further curb the outbreak.”

“The extraordinary initiative taken by King Salman is critical, as the world is going through a major crisis with the coronavirus pandemic — a crisis that the world has never seen the likes of before,” Dr. Alia Aldahlawi, Saudi Shoura Council member, told Arab News. “At the present time, a global coordinated response, in cooperation with all health agencies and institutions, must put standards in place to confine the spread, reduce infection rates and gain control over the pandemic.

“I believe this exceptional meeting will have a major impact in crisis management, led by the Kingdom, with positive outcomes on the economic and health front at an international level,” she added.

Related


Pilgrims perform last stoning ritual as socially distanced Hajj comes to a close

Updated 03 August 2020

Pilgrims perform last stoning ritual as socially distanced Hajj comes to a close

  • Pilgrims entered the Grand Mosque via designated doors and were required to follow marked paths to keep a safe distance between each other
  • Saudi authorities implemented strict precautions this year to ensure a safe Hajj season amid the coronavirus pandemic

JEDDAH: Pilgrims safely performed the last stoning ritual on Jamarat Bridge in Mina on Sunday before moving back to Makkah’s Grand Mosque to complete their Hajj with the last circumambulation of the Kaaba known as “Farewell Tawaf.”

The ritual is complete when worshippers walk seven times around the Kaaba, marking the end of the Hajj season.

Pilgrims entered the Grand Mosque via designated doors and were required to follow marked paths to keep a safe distance between each other.

Muslim pilgrims, clad in face masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, pray after throwing pebbles as part of Al-A'qabah at the Jamarat Bridge during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near Makkah on Aug. 1, 2020. (AFP)

Meanwhile, the ministry confirmed that there have been no reports of coronavirus infections among pilgrims at the holy sites of Hajj on the fifth day of the pilgrimage.

Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat said that after the Hajj rituals were over, the pilgrims would undergo a medical examination.

FASTFACT

279K

The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 278,835.

Pilgrims underwent seven days of home isolation before they began their Hajj journey, and will again be under home isolation after Hajj is complete.

Saudi authorities implemented strict precautions this year to ensure a safe Hajj season. “There was a detailed plan for each step pilgrims take; the main focus was how to effectively apply medical precautions and preventive measures,” Mashat said.

“By taking all these preventive measures and great efforts, the Kingdom sends the message that human health is its top priority,” he said.

FASTFACT

240K

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom reached 240,081

Bashir Fadlallah Al-Faeq, who is from the Central African Republic, expressed his gratitude at being able to participate in this year’s exceptional Hajj season. “I feel safe and confident with the amazing and wonderful preventive measures taken by the authorities to limit the spread of the pandemic.”

A handout picture provided by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), on July 31, 2020, shows Muslim pilgrims throwing pebbles as part of Al-A'qabah (stoning of the devil ritual) at the Jamarat Bridge during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near Makkah on July 31, 2020. (AFP)

The Saudi Public Security confirmed that no one was able to enter the holy sites without permission, noting that more than 2,000 violators who attempted to infiltrate these areas were caught and legal action was taken against them.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, minister of interior and chairman of the Hajj Supreme Committee, held a virtual meeting with the leaders of the security sectors on Sunday. He conveyed the greetings of King Salman and the crown prince to the security men and leaders of the security sectors participating in the Hajj mission this year, on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha.