Coronavirus cases over 5.1 lakh, 22,993 dead; G20 kicks into action as COVID-19 ravages world economy

Almost three months after coronavirus COVID-19 started spreading its deadly tentacles and sped across the world killing thousands and infecting lakhs of people, the powerful G20 held a virtual meeting on March 26, 2020, to chart the way forward and control the pandemic which threatens to decimate several countries and put the global economy into recession.

The scale of its spread has left nations shocked and the medical fraternity stunned. Coronavirus took 67 days to infect the first 1 lakh people after the outbreak on December 31, 2019. The next 1 lakh were infected in 11 days while the virus took four days to reach the 3 lakh-mark. From 3 to 4 lakh took just three days and the next 1 lakh took only two days.

The G20 meeting chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and attended through video conferencing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 18 other heads of states decided to inject $5 trillion into the global economy which has gone into a tailspin since early January when coronavirus started to spread in China and its neighbouring nations.

With the death toll 22,993 and 510,108 infected at 11:45 pm IST on March 26 according to the Johns Hopkins University, the G20 leaders vowed to do whatever it takes to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, protect lives, safeguard jobs and income of millions across the world. The leaders also decided to speed up the efforts to find a vaccine against the deadly virus while strengthening the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that it is able to fight against pandemics.

PM Modi, who put India under a 21-day lockdown from March 24 midnight to tackle the spread of coronavirus, pointed out that the outbreak has had alarming social and economic cost with almost 90% of the COVID-19 cases and 88% of deaths taking place in G20 countries even as they share 80% of world GDP and 60% of the world population. Highlighting that human beings need to be out at the centre of the vision of global prosperity and cooperation, while freely and openly sharing the benefits of medical research and development.

Even as the leaders concretised their strategy to deal with the pandemic, coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in several countries with rich nations like Italy, Spain and the United States of America (USA) seemingly helpless against the virus. Italy continues to bear the maximum brunt of the coronavirus outbreak with 8,165 dead and 80,539 infected followed by Spain with 4,145 dead and 56,197 sick.

India has till March 26 reported 694 positive cases with 16 dead. The lockdown by PM Modi is eyeing to break the scale of spread and ensure that those infected are confined to small areas making it easier for the medical system to treat the sick.