G7 Leaders Commit to ‘Doing Whatever is Necessary’ to Respond to Coronavirus Pandemic

March 16, 2020 Updated: March 16, 2020
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Leaders of some of the most powerful countries in the world vowed on Monday to “doing whatever is necessary” to respond to the new coronavirus pandemic.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus, started in China last year before spreading around the world.

Leaders part of the Group of Seven, or G7, said after a video conference call on Monday that the pandemic “is a human tragedy and a global health crisis, which also poses major risks for the world economy.”

“We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts,” they said in a joint statement.

The group consists of some of the most advanced economies in the world: the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

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French SMUR rescue team wearing protective suits carry a patient at Strasbourg University hospital in Strasbourg, France, on March 16, 2020. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

Leaders said that the situation may require “national emergency measures” but they “remain committed to the stability of the global economy.”

“We express our conviction that current challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic need a strongly coordinated international approach, based on science and evidence, consistent with our democratic values, and utilizing the strengths of private enterprise,” they said.

The new virus causes a disease called COVID-19 that can be deadly to some, primarily those who are older or have underlying health conditions.

Leaders said they’ll use the full power of their governments to coordinate on necessary health measures to protect people at risk from the disease; restore confidence, growth, and protect jobs; support global trade and investment; and encourage cooperation on science and research.

“By acting together, we will work to resolve the health and economic risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and set the stage for a strong recovery of strong, sustainable economic growth and prosperity,” they said.

Among the efforts: Pooling epidemiological and other data to better understand and fight the virus, sharing information in real-time, and coordinating with online platforms to make sure the public has access to correct and relevant official information.

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Carroll Hospital Critical Care Unit Clinical Manager Stephanie Bakert talks to a person through his car window using a mobile phone before testing him for the coronavirus at a drive-thru station in the hospital’s parking garage in Westminster, Maryland, on March 16, 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Health and finance ministers in each country will be in contact and coordinate on a weekly basis.

The most COVID-19 infections are in China, where the virus originated, followed by Italy, which has seen a rapid increase in recent weeks.

Iran, Spain, South Korea, Germany, and France have all reported over 5,000 confirmed cases, while the United States had 4,138 cases as of Monday.

Numerous countries are implementing strict rules to try to slow the spread of the new illness, including curfews, the closing of schools and restaurants, and travel restrictions.

Experts recommend avoiding sick people, maintaining at least six feet from other individuals, staying home when ill, frequently washing hands thoroughly, and regularly cleaning objects and surfaces.

About 80 percent of patients will recover after experiencing no, mild, or moderate symptoms, which resemble the flu, while the others require hospitalization. Some of them will need strong interventions, such as mechanical ventilation, according to data compiled from cases globally. The mortality rate differs across countries but has dipped to as low as 0.3 percent in some nations. In others, it’s been around 4 percent.

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