G20 leaders urged to provide funds for COVID-19 vaccines, drugs, tests

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - G20 leaders must help close a funding gap to buy vaccines, drugs and tests to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter from South Africa's president, Norway's prime minister, and the heads of the World Health Organization and European Commission said.

Reuters November 20, 2020 01:11:14 IST
G20 leaders urged to provide funds for COVID-19 vaccines, drugs, tests

G20 leaders urged to provide funds for COVID19 vaccines drugs tests

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - G20 leaders must help close a funding gap to buy vaccines, drugs and tests to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter from South Africa's president, Norway's prime minister, and the heads of the World Health Organization and European Commission said.

The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent ahead of the Group of 20's virtual summit at the weekend in Riyadh organised by Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the club of rich nations and big emerging powers.

"A commitment by G20 leaders at the G20 summit in Riyadh to invest substantially in the ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools) Accelerator's immediate funding gap of US $4.5 billion will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass procurement and delivery of COVID-19 tools around the world, and provide an exit strategy out of this global economic and human crisis," it said.

The letter also called on G20 leaders to commit jointly to "a proportion of future stimulus" spending on the tools, which are particularly aimed at securing supplies for lower income countries.

The signatories were South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

"Engaging finance ministers now to actually raise all the money that we need, not only the urgent money needed for 2020 but actually make sure that we are fully funding the total work of the ACT Accelerator is so important," Dag Inge Ulstein, Norway's minister of international development, told Reuters in Geneva.

"It's the next weeks that will be very, very crucial," he said.

The facility set up by the WHO and the GAVI vaccine group has exceeded an interim target of raising more than $2 billion to buy and distribute COVID-19 shots for poorer countries, but said last week it still needed more.

Roughly $28 billion is needed to fund fully the procurement and distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests, which von der Leyen said last week was equivalent to “the same sum the transport sector and the global tourism sector lose in just two days of lockdown.”

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans and Mark Potter)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.