G20 pledges $21bn to fight coronavirus pandemic

It comes as China's capital lowered its emergency response level to the second-lowest

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
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The Group of 20 (G20) rich and emerging economies has pledged more than $21 billion to fight the coronavirus, the bloc said early on Saturday.

"The G20, with invited countries, has coordinated the global efforts to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, G20 members and invited countries have pledged over US$21 billion to support funding in global health," it said.

It came as China's capital lowered its emergency response level to the second-lowest starting on Saturday for the coronavirus pandemic.

That will lift most restrictions on people traveling from Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei, where the virus first appeared late last year. They will no longer face 14-day mandatory quarantines and other forms of monitoring, and those currently in such situations will be allowed to return to their normal lives.

Beijing residential compounds will not be required to conduct temperature checks and masks no longer must be worn for outdoor activities. Kindergartens will reopen and other grades still suspended will restart classes.

Beijing has reported no new cases of local transmission in at least 50 days and as many as 90 days in some districts.

Elsewhere, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro threatened on Friday to pull Brazil out of the World Health Organisation after the UN agency warned Latin American governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the coronavirus throughout the region.

A new Brazilian record for daily Covid-19 fatalities pushed the county's death toll past that of Italy late on Thursday, but Mr Bolsonaro continues to argue for quickly lifting state isolation orders, arguing that the economic costs outweigh public health risks.

Latin America's most populous nations, Brazil and Mexico, are seeing the highest rates of new infections, though the pandemic is also gathering pace in countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Bolivia.

Overall, more than 1.1 million Latin Americans have been infected. While most leaders have taken the pandemic more seriously than Mr Bolsonaro, some politicians that backed strict lockdowns in March and April are pushing to open up economies as hunger and poverty grow.

In an editorial running the length of newspaper Folha de S.Paulo's front page, the Brazilian daily highlighted that only 100 days had passed since Mr Bolsonaro described the virus now "killing a Brazilian per minute" as "a little flu".

"While you were reading this, another Brazilian died from the coronavirus," the newspaper said.