British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, 26th September 2020 that the coronavirus pandemic has strained the bonds between nations. He urged the world leaders to unite against the common foe of Covid-19.
The British PM said in a prerecorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly, that nine months into the pandemic, the very notion of the international community looks tattered. He further added that never again must we wage 193 separate campaigns against the same enemy.
Boris Johnson’s Plans to prevent a future pandemic like COVID-19
He set out a plan for preventing another global pandemic. He proposed a network of zoonotic research labs around the world to identify dangerous pathogens before they leap from animals to humans.
Johnson contracted Covid-19 in the spring this year and spent three nights in intensive care. He also called for countries to share data to create a global early-warning system for disease outbreaks. He further urged countries to stop slapping export controls on essential goods, as many have done during the pandemic.
Johnson also committed 636 million dollars through the global COVAX vaccine-procurement pool. This is to help 92 of the world’s poorest countries obtain a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available.
He also announced that the UK is increasing its funding for the World Health Organization by 30%. Which is 432 million dollars over the next four years. Johnson urged world leaders to acknowledge that the alarm bells were ringing before this calamity struck and to learn from this experience.
He said that with nearly a million people dead, and with colossal economic suffering already inflicted, there is a moral imperative for humanity to be honest. And to reach a joint understanding of how the pandemic began, and how it was able to spread globally. This is not because he wants to blame any country or government or to score points. He simply believes that as a former COVID patient everyone has a right to know so that collectively we can do our best to prevent a recurrence of such a pandemic.
The United Kingdom’s efforts to develop a vaccine
To show British leadership and generosity, he stated that the Oxford University researchers had immediately shared a discovery that a cheap medicine called dexamethasone reduces the risk of death by over a third for patients on ventilators. He also mentioned the efforts made in Britain by Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca to develop and manufacture a vaccine.
Johnson said that the Oxford vaccine is now in stage three of clinical trials. And in case of success, AstraZeneca has already begun to manufacture millions of doses of the vaccine. This is ready for rapid distribution. And they have reached an agreement with the Serum Institute of India to supply one billion doses to low and middle-income countries.
He said that it would be futile to treat the quest for a vaccine as a contest. It will be a narrow national advantage and immoral to seek a head start through obtaining research by darker means. The health of each and every country depends on the whole world having access to a safe and effective vaccine, whenever and wherever a breakthrough might occur. He assured in his speech that the UK, we will do everything in its power to bring this about.