Economic Brief – B20 Initiative to Address COVID-19 Impact – April 2020
The global pandemic of COVID-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for governments and businesses. The virus now accounts for 5.2 million cases worldwide and more than 335,000 deaths. The IMF projects that global GDP will contract by 3 percent in 2020 after governments implemented lockdown policies that stalled business operations and supply chains in the interest of public health. The first case of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia was confirmed on March 2 with cases now surpassing 67,000 according to the Ministry of Health. At the time of publication, over 39,000 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 while 351 individuals have died. In Saudi Arabia, the virus first appeared in the eastern city of Qatif and spread throughout the Kingdom with Makkah now accounting for the highest number of cases followed by Riyadh and Jeddah. The U.S. meanwhile has reported more than 1.8 million cases and more than 106,000 deaths. In terms of cases and deaths per capita, G20 countries have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic thus far. As President of the G20, Saudi Arabia has played a major role in coordinating global cooperation in response to the pandemic and will continue to lead the effort towards recovery and reopening.