By Sam Bridge
Virtual G20 Leaders' Summit next week will be first time that Saudi Arabia will hold the presidency of the G20
Saudi Arabia has called to convene an extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit next week to advance a coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications.
The event marks the first time that Saudi Arabia will hold the presidency of the G20, a statement carried by state news agency WAM said.
The kingdom said the G20 will act, alongside international organisations, in any way deemed necessary to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.
G20 Leaders will put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy.
The summit will build on the ongoing efforts of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, senior health, trade, and foreign affairs officials, to further develop the precise requirements and actions needed.
Saudi Arabia said its G20 presidency will continue to support and coordinate international efforts to counter the impact of the pandemic, both in human and economic terms.
Globally, coronavirus cases on Wednesday were close to 200,000 with over 8,000 deaths.
The G20 summit call comes as Saudi Arabia suspended all private sector work except health and food services for a 15-day period amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said that workers would be suspended from the main offices of private sector firms for 15 days.
In cases where workers must continue their duties and ensure the availability of supply chains, the number of employees working must not exceed 40 percent of the total at the firm’s headquarters.
The top crude exporter also faces plummeting oil prices, which slipped below $30 a barrel this week for the first time in four years, on the back of sagging demand and a price war with Russia.
There are currently 171 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Saudi Arabia.