Leaders of the world’s most powerful economies will convene virtually on Thursday to try and coordinate a response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, the Associated Press reports.
The meeting for the Group of 20 nations will be chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
The kingdom, which is presiding over the G20 this year, said it organized the extraordinary meeting to advance global efforts to tackle the pandemic and its economic implications as people lose their incomes amid closures, curfews and lockdowns.
The meeting comes amid criticism that the world’s wealthiest countries have not taken cohesive action to combat the virus or its economic impact on people around the world.
The global death toll from the new coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19, has climbed past 21,000 and the number of infections has surpassed 472,000, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The number of dead in the U.S. rose to 1,041 as of late Wednesday, with nearly 70,000 infections. Spain’s death toll has risen past 3,400, eclipsing that of China, where the virus was first detected in December.