US Senate passes record $2tn stimulus bill as Tokyo warns against ‘explosion’ of cases

China and the United States are expected to call a timeout on their coronavirus blame game and focus on the challenges of the pandemic when leaders of the G20 nations hold talks via video conference on Thursday, the South China Morning Post said.
Cardboard figures of Chinese president Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump wearing face masks stand near souvenirs shop in Moscow, Russia, 24 March 2020.
Cardboard figures of Chinese president Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump wearing face masks stand near souvenirs shop in Moscow, Russia, 24 March 2020. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA
The leaders are expected to agree that the outbreak is a threat to humanity and will set up a mechanism to share information and experiences in fighting the disease, the paper said, citing a draft statement to be discussed at the summit.

“As the world confronts the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response,” Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Twitter.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s reference to the “Chinese virus” – a term President Donald Trump has also used repeatedly – has greatly angered Beijing.

Some US politicians were using the pandemic as a weapon to smear China, Beijing has said, adding that its actions, including quarantining millions of people, had earned the world “precious time” to prepare.

It has also disputed the widely held belief that the virus originated in China, and comments by a foreign ministry spokesman that it could have been brought to the country by the US military have further heightened tension between the two.