Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has accepted a proposal by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold the G20 Summit online next week, eight months before it is meant to be held in the capital Riyadh.
The virtual conference for the G20 member nations will go ahead due to the fears of gathering world leaders together in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that has swept around the world and killed almost 8,000 people so far. The Kingdom issued a statement yesterday announcing that “G20 leaders will put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy.”
The announcement about the G20 summit comes at a time of further measures being taken by Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region in recent weeks. The Saudis, for example, have closed schools and universities; congregational prayers are no longer being held in mosques; and private sector employees have been ordered to take 15 days off in order to self-quarantine. International travel around the world has also been banned.
So far, there have allegedly been no deaths in the Kingdom attributed to the virus, but there are currently 171 confirmed cases of people who are infected. Around the world, there are close to 200,000 cases of infection. The figure is increasing at an alarming rate, with many warning that the crisis will continue beyond mid-2020 at the very least.
In neighbouring Iran, there are more than 16,000 confirmed cases and a death toll of around 1,000. There has been much speculation, however, that the figures could be much higher due to the government covering up the actual number of cases within the country.