Covid: Countries 'must unite' in face of future pandemic threat, global leaders say

Boris Johnson holds a vial aloft as he wears a face covering Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The post-coronavirus world needs to work to protect the health of future generations and deal with future pandemics in a highly co-ordinated fashion, leaders including Boris Johnson have said.

Covid-19 has been a “stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe” and a new treaty for pandemic preparedness and response will be needed to tackle future health crises.

The issue has been raised by Mr Johnson and 23 other world leaders including French and German counterparts Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel in a letter printed in the Daily Telegraph and other papers across the world.

Angela Merkel Credit: AP

Coronavirus has led to nearly 2.8 million deaths worldwide, according to figures from the Johns Hopkins University, while 127 million people have been infected by the virus first detected in China in late 2019.

The letter said Covid-19 has been the “biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s”, noting the two world wars brought about an era of co-operation between nation states.

It said: “Today we hold the same hope that, as we fight to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.

“We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

“Such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level.”

There is a shared commitment to “ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics”, it added.

In addition, the new international treaty would look to improve co-operation across a range of fields, from systems alerting about potential pandemics, to the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment.

The letter said: “At a time when Covid-19 has exploited our weaknesses and divisions, we must seize this opportunity and come together as a global community for peaceful co-operation that extends beyond this crisis.”

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