News Coronavirus Australia joins G20 pledge to combat coronavirus pandemic
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Australia joins G20 pledge to combat coronavirus pandemic

: A view of members taking part on screen during an unusual G20 Leaders’ Summit to discuss the international coronavirus crisis. Photo: Getty
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Scott Morrison has joined world leaders in pledging $7.5 trillion to rescue the global economy amid warnings that the escalating coronavirus crisis is only the “tip of the ice berg”.

It comes as the Australian cabinet prepares to convene on Friday morning to consider rent and tax relief measures to help businesses and the unemployed amid a crippling retail shutdown.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined US President Donald Trump and other members of the G20 in a video link-up overnight Friday.

In a communique issued on Friday morning (Australian time), Mr Morrison and other leaders described the pandemic as “a powerful reminder of our interconnectedness and vulnerabilities”.

“This virus respects no borders,” they said.

“Combating this pandemic calls for a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based global response in a spirit of solidarity.”

The teleconference took place at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Getty

 

The number of people infected with coronavirus has reached 500,000 as economies around the world reel from the impact of widespread lockdowns.

Italy has shut down most of its industry, and a record-shattering 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in a single week.

In India, where the country’s 1.3 billion people were under orders to stay home, legions of poor were suddenly thrown out of work, and many families were left struggling for something to eat.

The virtual summit was called by Saudi Arabia, which is chairing the forum this year.

G20 finance, health and trade ministers are set to meet in coming weeks to develop specific action plans to deal with the economic and health impacts.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres told the leaders they needed a war-time plan.

“It took the world three months to reach 100,000 confirmed cases of infection,” he said.

“The next 100,000 happened in just 12 days. The third took four days. The fourth, just one and a half.

“This is exponential growth and only the tip of the iceberg.”

International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva asked G20 leaders for their backing to double the fund’s $US50 billion ($A84 billion) emergency financing capacity.

She said vulnerable households and businesses need targeted financial support to stay afloat and get back to work quickly.

In this handout image provided by South Korean Presidential Blue House, Presidential staffs watch a screen showing G-20 summit. Photo: Getty

Rent relief

Financial help could soon be on the way for renters as the federal government discusses the idea of income tax cuts for landlords.

It’s hoped that will encourage other landlords who are not already doing so to offer lower rents to businesses that are under financial pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Labor has further called for a freeze on all evictions during Australia’s coronavirus shutdown as thousands of people lose their jobs.

There are concerns if people are kicked onto the street it will not only impact on the lives of families but make containment of the virus much more difficult.

Banks have already offered freezes on mortgage repayments while energy companies are being urged to show compassion on unpaid bills, with Australians facing unemployment due to businesses closing.

Some landlords are offering discounts on rent to tenants who are under financial pressure.

Retail mogul Solomon Lew stood down 9000 staff as he declared his businesses would not be paying rent on commercial premises.

The billionaire holds a 43 per cent stake in Premier Investments, which runs outlets including Smiggle, Just Jeans and Peter Alexander.

Premier said it was shutting all of its stores down for a month, saying it was the “right decision” for its employees and the country.

Coronavirus hits affluent suburbs

The three states where the coronavirus is most widespread have revealed the areas which have recorded the highest number of infections.

Almost 30 per cent of Queensland’s coronavirus cases have been found in Metro North, which occupies Australia’s largest hospital service.

The Metro North Public Health Unit is managing the greatest number of infections in Queensland – 144 of the state’s 493 coronavirus diagnoses.

Meanwhile, Waverley Council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has recorded the most confirmed coronavirus cases in New South Wales.

The local government area has had 105 cases of COVID-19 out of NSW’s total of 1219 cases, data published on NSW Health’s website shows.

The Sydney LGA has recorded 69, while Northern Beaches and Woollahra have recorded 68 and 66 cases respectively.

The number of NSW coronavirus cases jumped on Thursday to 1219, a rise of 190 on the previous day.

There has been at least one coronavirus case confirmed in 54 of Victoria’s 79 local government areas.

At 57 cases, Stonnington leads with the highest number of infections, followed by the Mornington Peninsula (36), City of Melbourne (32), Boroondara (29), Glen Eira (26) and Port Phillip (25).

-with AAP