G20 leaders support fight against Ebola virus

Brisbane, Nov 15 G20 leaders issued a statement Saturday pledging to fight the , which has evolved from a health issue to an economic one.

“G20 members are committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs,” the statement said.

The statement comes as the latest Ebola epidemic has killed more than 5,000 people mainly in the Western African region, and has since spread to the US and Europe.

“We are mindful of the serious humanitarian, social and economic impacts on those countries, and of the potential for these impacts to spread,” the statement said.

The G20 leaders highlighted the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response’s ongoing work to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent further outbreaks, according to Xinhua.

The G20 members said they would share their experiences of successfully fighting Ebola with partners, including promoting safe conditions and training for health care and relief workers.

“We will work to expedite the effective and targeted disbursement of funds and other assistance, balancing between emergency and longer-term needs,” the statement said.

“We invite those governments that have yet to do so to join in providing financial contributions, appropriately qualified and trained medical teams and personnel, medical and protective equipment, and medicines and treatments.”

The statement urged greater efforts by researchers, regulators and pharmaceutical companies to develop safe, effective and affordable diagnostic tools, vaccines and treatments.

The world leaders also urged the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue their strong support for the affected countries and welcomed the IMF’s initiative to make available a further $300 million to stem the Ebola outbreak and ease pressures on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, through a combination of concessional loans, debt relief and grants.

“This outbreak illustrates the urgency of addressing longer-term systemic issues and gaps in capability, preparedness and response capacity that expose the global economy to the impacts of infectious disease,” the statement said.

“We invite all countries to join us in mobilising resources to strengthen national, regional and global preparedness against the threat posed by infectious diseases to global health and strong, sustainable and balanced growth for all. We will remain vigilant and responsive.”