Boris Johnson to use G7 meeting to push vaccine distribution to ‘every single country’

Prime minister will host first G7 virtual get-together of UK presidency

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Saturday 13 February 2021 23:54
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<p>PM also says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about his roadmap out of lockdown</p>

PM also says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about his roadmap out of lockdown

Boris Johnson will use Britain’s G7 presidency to push for Covid-19 vaccine distribution in “every single country” around the world.

In his first meeting as chair of the international forum the prime minister will urge world leaders to work together to defeat the “common foe” of coronavirus.

At the virtual gathering on Friday he will call for an end to the “nationalist and divisive politics” which marred the initial response to the pandemic.

The video conference comes ahead of a full G7 summit in Cornwall, scheduled for June, and will be Joe Biden’s first major multilateral meeting in the White House.

Downing Street has briefed that Mr Johnson will tell world leaders that the rollout of vaccines offers a fresh opportunity to demonstrate the value of international cooperation.

There are concerns that people in many poorer countries may have to wait until 2023 or 2024 to get vaccinated because rich countries have bought up early vaccine supplies.

This could have a knock-on effect on richer countries too. The UK government has suggested it might be difficult to open Britain’s borders to the world again until most countries are fully vaccinated.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Johnson said: “The solutions to the challenges we face – from the colossal mission to get vaccines to every single country, to the fight to reverse the damage done to our ecosystems and lead a sustainable recovery from coronavirus – lie in the discussions we have with our friends and partners around the world.

“Quantum leaps in science have given us the vaccines we need to end this pandemic for good. Now world governments have a responsibility to work together to put those vaccines to the best possible use.

“I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year humanity worked together like never before to defeat a common foe.”

The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – countries that collectively account for about half of global GDP.

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