As most of its citizens have done in a self-isolation era, G20 leaders met over video. Photos from the session showed leaders who all beamed into the session from their offices or homes.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who self-heals after his wife tested positive for coronavirus, emerged from home.
The stand-alone summit – which banned the small tractors, private huddles and silent whispers that usually color the annual G20 collection – illustrated only the precarious and unusual times the leaders organize.
And it seemed to catch the remaining questions about whether a geopolitically broken world will be able to confront a virus that ignores the borders and the governments that enforce them.
Opening the meeting, aging Saudi King Salman – G20 president of the year – said “the human crisis requires a global response. The world expects us to come together and work together to meet this challenge.”
World leaders grapple with more financial concerns as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates, including the possibility of a global recession.
In a joint statement released after the call, the G20 countries said they had committed to do what it takes to overcome the pandemic and would not save any efforts to protect lives, protect people’s jobs and preserve financial stability.
The statement did not describe any new or specific measures the G20 took, but said leaders were ready “to respond quickly and take further action that may be required.”
In the joint statement aside, there are remaining global disputes that may prevent the collective effective coordination to fight the virus. The two largest economies in the group, the US and China, have been locked in a joke about the origin of the crisis.