UN urges G20 to adopt ‘wartime plan’

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged leaders of the worlds 20 major industrialised nations to adopt a wartime plan including a stimulus package in the trillions of dollars for businesses, workers and households in developing countries trying to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

World leaders are planning an unprecedented virtual summit to coordinate a global response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The extraordinary event will be convened  under the G20 presidency currently held by Saudi Arabia.

He said in a letter to G20 leaders that they account for 85% of the worlds gross domestic product and have a direct interest and critical role to play in helping developing countries cope with the crisis.

“Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world,” the UN chief said. “We must create the conditions and mobilise the resources necessary to ensure that developing countries have equal opportunities to respond to this crisis in their communities and economies.”

Guterres warned: Anything short of this commitment would lead to a pandemic of apocalyptic proportions affecting us all.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said G20 leaders are expected to hold a virtual summit meeting Thursday.

Mr. Guterres recommended three areas for discussion and decision-making at the meeting, due to be held on Thursday.

Topping his list is the need for coordinated action to suppress the virus through “an articulated response mechanism” guided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Additionally, he called for increased procurement of medical and protective equipment, particularly for developing countries, and offered up the UN’s global supply network for this purpose.

G-20 leaders were also asked to ban tariffs and remove restrictions on cross-border trade that affects the deployment of medical equipment, medicines and other essential goods.

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