G20 countries pledge 2 billion free coronavirus vaccines worldwide
London, Nov. 22, 2020 (AltAfrica)-G20 countries will distribute two billion doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus worldwide, Germany’s Angela Merkel announced on Saturday during the G20 Riyadh Summit.
The pledge is in addition to over $21 billion invested by the G20 since the beginning of the crisis to support healthcare systems and in the development of vaccines to combat the pandemic.
French President Emmanuel Macron said coronavirus vaccines will be available before the end of the year, and France will ensure that the vaccines reach all countries, especially the poor ones.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that the pandemic has proven that international cooperation and joint action is the best way to overcome crises. King Salman considered the coronavirus pandemic a substantial test for the global health system.
“Saudi Arabia has provided half a billion dollars to finding a vaccine and treatment to confront the virus, Saudi Arabia has also participated in the launch of an initiative to accelerate the creation of tools and technologies to battle the coronavirus,” the King added.
“During our presidency of the G20, we benefited from several key initiatives to address gaps in global pandemic preparedness and response systems. With the support of the group’s countries, we proposed the launch of an initiative to provide tools for combating pandemics, with the aim of ensuring focus on preparedness and response to future pandemics in a sustainable manner,” added King Salman.
Calling for solidarity to face international challenges, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the G20 Riyadh Summit was an important event which highlighted the G20’s response to coronavirus pandemic.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in hoped that the G20 Riyadh summit would inspire the world, and added that his nation had transparently reported its COVID-19 data to its people and the world.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that his country looks to the G20 to help it cope with the pandemic’s repercussions.
President of Argentina Alberto Fernández said that vaccines and treatments for coronavirus must be available for all countries.
The chairperson for the global vaccine alliance (GAVI), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, cautioned that the COVID-19 virus was winning.
“Only through adequate financing for a global exit strategy can economic vitality be restored, and we can avert the catastrophe in the poorest countries,” she added
Saudi Arabia holds the 2020 presidency of the G20, which rotates among members, and is hosting the G20 summit across Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22.
Due to the coronavirus, this year’s Riyadh summit is being held virtually, with leaders and ministers attending via webcam.
The build-up events, ranging from Women 20 to Business 20, have also taken place virtually.
Addressing the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is top of the agenda this year, as countries try to rebuild from the devastating economic impact of the virus.
The environment has also featured, with the looming threat of climate change ever-present on the agenda.
This year’s agenda also has a sharper focus on culture than previous years, with culture ministers pledging to support the $2.3 trillion cultural economy in a meeting on November 4.