G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in post-COVID world

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – NOVEMBER 21: European Council President Charles Michel attends G20 Summit via video conference in Brussels, Belgium on November 21, 2020. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

G20 leaders on Saturday vowed to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world and also ensure that they do what is needed to support poorer countries struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.

Top of the agenda on the first day of a two-day summit under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, was the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thrown the global economy into a deep recession this year, and efforts needed to underpin an economic rebound in 2021.

G20 leaders are concerned that the pandemic might further deepen global divisions between the rich and the poor.

To do that, the European Union urged G20 leaders quickly to put more money into a global project for vaccines, tests and therapeutics – called Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – and its COVAX facility to distribute vaccines.

“At the G20 Summit I called for $4.5 billion to be invested in ACT Accelerator by the end of 2020, for procurement & delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere,” European Commission Head Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.

Germany was contributing more than 500 million euros ($592.65 million) to the effort, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the G20, urging other countries to do their part, according to a text of her remarks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to provide Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow was also preparing a second and third vaccine.

China, where the pandemic originated a year ago, also offered to cooperate on vaccines. China has five home-grown candidates for a vaccine undergoing the last phase of trials.

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