G20 nations pledge 'united front' on coronavirus crisis

PRETORIA - As South Africans head into the 21-day lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa attended a virtual G20 emergency meeting on a global response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.   

Ramaphosa and other leaders around the world all attended the meeting via a video-link.

COVID-19: Ramaphosa calls for National Day of Prayer 

G20 nations pledged a "united front" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and said they were injecting $5-trillion into the global economy to counter the impact of the crisis.

"Combatting this pandemic calls for a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based global response in the spirit of solidarity," the G20 said in a statement after an emergency online summit.

READ: We can weather a few weeks, but not longer: Business owner on lockdown

"We are strongly committed to presenting a united front against this common threat." 

The group pledged to work swiftly with the IMF, the World Health Organization and regional banks to deploy a "robust" financial package to support developing nations.

READ: SA has more than 900 confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ramaphosa

On the fight against the novel coronavirus, the leaders committed to a number of measures including sharing research and data, strengthening health systems, and expanding manufacturing capacity to meet demand for medical supplies.  

"To safeguard the future, we commit to strengthen national, regional, and global capacities to respond to potential infectious disease outbreaks," the statement said.