Saudi Arabia has called for a "virtual" summit of leaders from the group of 20 major economies next week to address the coronavirus pandemic, a statement said on Wednesday.
"The Saudi G20 presidency is communicating with the G20 countries to hold an extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders next week to drive a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic impact," said the Explanation.
"The heads of state and government of the G20 will present coordinated measures to protect people and protect the global economy."
The announcement comes after the G20 chiefs of finance expressed "real concern" at the Riyadh summit last month about the economic shockwaves caused by the spread of the deadly virus.
Since then, global equity and oil markets have slumped due to growing concerns about the worsening outbreak.
Most market commentators agree that the virus-ridden global economy is likely to plunge into recession, which means at least two consecutive quarters of the economic contraction.
The United States and Britain are leading an international fight against the multi-billion dollar economic chaos caused by the corona virus, as the European Union closes its borders to outside travelers for 30 days.
The announcement of the summit by Saudi Arabia, the first Arab nation to hold the G20 presidency, is amid some criticism that the G20 group has been slow to tackle the pandemic.
"Unlike in 2008, the G20 is missing in action today," said Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, on Twitter.
Another commentator wrote on Twitter: "Nobody said anything to the Saudis about coping with a crisis. They said it was okay to host a big event that would improve their image!"
Saudi Arabia itself is preparing for an economic downturn triggered by corona viruses after it has closed down cinemas, shopping centers and restaurants, suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage, and closed the East Qatif region – home to around 500,000 people – to address the problem curb deadly virus.
The largest crude oil exporter is also facing falling oil prices, which fell below $ 30 a barrel this week for the first time in four years, reflecting falling demand and a price war with Russia.
The Saudi Presidency is expected to host world leaders for a summit in Riyadh from November 21-22.
Ahead of the summit, more than 100 events and conferences will be held, including ministerial meetings, the organizers said.
Human rights groups have called on the G20 member states to put pressure on the kingdom because it is working against dissent, in which activists, journalists and political dissidents have been detained.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)