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G20 leaders pledge fair distribution of coronavirus vaccine

AFP/Riyadh
Filed on November 22, 2020 | Last updated on November 22, 2020 at 11.28 pm
Reuters

As the pandemic rages, the nations adopted a unified tone on the challenges ahead during a virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.

G20 leaders said on Sunday they will “spare no effort” to ensure the fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, and support poor countries whose economies have been ravaged by the crisis.

As the pandemic rages, the nations adopted a unified tone on the challenges ahead during a virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia said that the “spirit of cooperation” was needed now “more than ever to face the impact of the pandemic and create a prosperous future for the people of the whole world”.

“We have mobilised resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines,” they said in the statement.

“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people.”

While some nations plan their vaccination programmes, with the US expecting to launch in early December, experts warn that developing countries face hurdles that could deny billions the first proven protection against the virus.

Calls are mounting for the G20 to help plug a $4.5-billion funding gap in the so-called ACT-Accelerator, a mechanism led by the World Health Organization that aims to ensure access to tests, treatments and vaccines for all.

In a comment echoed by other leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that the coronavirus crisis was “a test for the G20”, stressing there “will be no effective response to the pandemic unless it is a global response”.

US President Donald Trump made a brief appearance at the opening session, lauding his administration’s achievements on coronavirus before logging off and going golfing, while other leaders braved technical quirks and the lack of opportunity for spontaneous interactions.

G20 nations have contributed more than $21 billion to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected $11 trillion to shore up the battered world economy, summit organisers said.





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