ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand gives an update from Downing Street
The Prime Minister is set to tell foreign counterparts at the United Nations General Assembly that the “notion of the international community looks tattered” after the Covid crisis.
He will call for states to “reach across borders and repair these ugly rifts”, as he announces a plan, developed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust, to help stop future pandemics.
The proposals include developing a global network of “zoonotic hubs” to identify dangerous pathogens before they jump from animals to humans, as well as improving manufacturing capacity for treatments and vaccines.
Other measures include designing a global pandemic early warning system, improving the ability to collect and analyse samples and distribute the findings, and agreeing common protocols on information sharing to PPE supplies around the world.
Mr Johnson is also proposing states reduce trade barriers on Covid-critical products, such as soap, to help the global response, and he will commit £500 million in aid funding for the Covax vaccines procurement pool to help poor countries access a coronavirus jab.
In a pre-recorded speech to be played on Saturday afternoon, the Prime Minister will say: “After nine months of fighting Covid, the very notion of the international community looks tattered.
“We know that we cannot continue in this way. Unless we unite and turn our fire against our common foe, we know that everyone will lose.
“Now is the time therefore, here at what I devoutly hope will be the first and last ever Zoom UNGA, for humanity to reach across borders and repair these ugly rifts.
“Here in the UK, the birthplace of Edward Jenner who pioneered the world’s first vaccine, we are determined to do everything in our power to work with our friends across the UN to heal those divisions and to heal the world.”
Romilly Greenhill, UK director of The One Campaign, which fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, said: “This is powerful leadership from the British Government at a moment when it could not be more important.
“It will give the global fight against Covid-19 a shot in the arm, helping ensure everyone, everywhere can access a vaccine.
“The science shows that if you want to protect your own population, you’ve got to make sure the vaccine reaches people everywhere.
“None of us are safe until all of us are safe and people across the world need their Governments to take action to beat the virus and end the pandemic as quickly as possible.
“This new commitment from the UK is welcome recognition that only a global solution will defeat this global pandemic.
“But we can’t be complacent in the fight against this global threat and other governments must step up and show similar leadership.”