While the G-20 countries have contributed billions of dollars to develop a vaccine against the virus, they have also mainly focused on securing their own vaccine supplies.
The 2019 G20 summit in Osaka. Wikimedia Commons
Dubai: The Group of 20 summit opened on Saturday with calls from the world’s most powerful leaders to collectively chart a course forward as the coronavirus The pandemic overshadows this year’s rally, turning it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and statements.
The pandemic, which claimed the lives of more than 1.37 million people worldwide, provided the G-20 with an opportunity to prove how these bodies can facilitate international cooperation in times of crisis – but also underscored their gaps.
“We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and to send a strong message of hope and comfort,” King Salman of Saudi Arabia said in the summit’s opening speech.
While the G-20 countries have contributed billions of dollars to develop a vaccine against the virus, they have also mainly focused on securing their own vaccine supplies. Countries like Britain, the United States, France and Germany – all G-20 member states – have directly negotiated deals with pharmaceutical companies to receive billions of doses, meaning that the the vast majority of next year’s global vaccine supply has already been booked. .
US President Donald Trump highlighted what the United States has done to respond to the coronavirus and rebuilding the economy and working on vaccines, which should be available soon, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Trump, however, did not appear to have acknowledged that Joe Biden won this month’s presidential election.
“It has been a great honor to work with you and I look forward to working with you again for a long time,” Trump said, according to audio obtained by The Guardian. The South China Morning Post reported similar comments.
A day before the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that while $ 10 billion has been invested in efforts to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapies, an additional $ 28 billion is needed to manufacture mass purchase and delivery of new COVID-19[female[feminine vaccines around the world.
Guterres called on more G-20 countries to join COVAX, an international initiative to distribute COVID-19[female[feminine vaccines in countries around the world. The United States refused to join Trump.
The pandemic has had a massive economic impact on developing countries and pushed millions of people into extreme poverty. It has also hit the richest countries in the world, with nine G-20 countries ranking first in the world for most cases of COVID-19[female[feminine checked in. The United States tops the list, followed by India, Brazil, France, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, Argentina and Italy, according to a tally held by Johns Hopkins University.
Three G-20 leaders attending the summit were infected with the coronavirus this year: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Trump.
The virus shows no signs of slowing down as major cities in the United States and Europe bring back lockdowns and curfews. The World Health Organization says more cases of COVID-19[female[feminine have been reported in the past four weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic.
According to the International Labor Organization, the equivalent of 225 million full-time jobs were lost in the G-20 countries alone in the third quarter of 2020. G-20 member countries represent around 85% of the workforce. world economic production and three quarters of international trade.
A sign of the times, the traditional “family photo” of the summit leaders was digitally designed and layered on a historic site just outside the Saudi capital Riyadh, which is said to have hosted the rally. The kingdom chaired the G-20 this year.
As part of the summit, seven leaders released video messages on “pandemic preparedness and response”. French President Emmanuel Macron warned of the challenges to achieve “universal access to health technologies COVID-19[female[feminine “.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for strengthening the World Health Organization and stressed that the pandemic can only be overcome if an affordable vaccine is available to all nations.
In a video statement released ahead of the summit, Johnson called on world leaders to harness the resources of the world’s richest countries to end the COVID-19[female[feminine pandemic and fight against climate change.
“Our fate is in our hands,” said Johnson, who plans to attend two virtual events at the summit while isolating himself at his London home after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19[female[feminine .
Bolsonaro, who spent months downplaying the severity of the virus as deaths rose rapidly inside Brazil, stressed in a video message that world leaders “should take care of people’s health and the economy. at the same time”.
President Trump also participated in the virtual closed-door sessions that take place on Saturday and Sunday. It does not appear that a leader has abandoned the summit, despite calls from rights groups, lawmakers and MEPs asking the leaders to boycott the rally to protest Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the war in Yemen.
G-20 heads of state last came together virtually for emergency meeting in March coronavirus was spreading rapidly around the world. At the time, they pledged to “do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic”.
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