20:13 GMT07 July 2020
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    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (281)

    The health ministers of the world's largest 20 economies held a video conference to address the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis and exchange experiences and practices undertaken to curb the pandemic.

    G20 health ministers said in a statement on Sunday that the new coronavirus pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in healthcare systems around the world.

    "We are deeply concerned that the virus now appears to be gathering pace in countries that lack the capacity of many G20 countries to respond to it. Urgent support is needed, not only to support countries to respond to COVID-19, but to ensure other essential health services continue", the G20 health ministers said in a statement issued after Sunday's virtual meeting.

    According to the statement, G20 countries will continue to assess gaps in global preparedness for pandemics.

    "As the ministerial declaration recognizes, the current pandemic has highlighted weakness in health systems and global preparedness", the statement says, adding, "we continue to fulfill our mandate to coordinate the global response, working with partners to save lives".

    Sunday video-conference follows the March virtual meeting in March, where health ministers were mandated with sharing national best practices and developing a set of urgent actions for the G20 to jointly combat the pandemic.

    The overall number of COVID-19 cases confirmed since the start of the outbreak has exceeded 2.24 million, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Sunday, with the death toll rising to 152,551 as of 08:00 GMT.

    According to the Johns Hopkins University live-tracker, COVID-19 has infected more than 2,394,200 people and has killed over 164,900 worldwide.

    The United States has been the nation worst affected by the pandemic, with over 755,000 infections registered, including at least 40,461 deaths, the university's count says.

    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (281)
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