G20 says it will strive for fair global access to COVID-19 vaccine
DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - Leaders of the 20 biggest economies vowed on Sunday to spare no effort to supply COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines affordably and fairly to “all people”, reflecting worries that the pandemic could deepen divisions between the world’s rich and poor.
The pandemic and prospects of an uneven and uncertain economic recovery were at the centre of a two-day online summit under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, which will hand the G20 presidency to Italy next month.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods and economies affected, is an unparalleled shock that has revealed vulnerabilities in our preparedness and response and underscored our common challenges,” the final communique said.
G20 nations will work to “protect lives, provide support with a special focus on the most vulnerable, and put our economies back on a path to restoring growth, and protecting and creating jobs for all”.
On vaccines, tests and treatments, the leaders said: “We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people.”
“There is a clear recognition from the G20: If we leave any country behind, we will all be behind,” Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told the closing news conference.
The world’s economy has suffered a sharp contraction this year as measures to contain the spread of the virus have curbed transport, trade, and demand across the planet.
The meeting was held by video link, like many such gatherings this year. Saudi King Salman said in his closing remarks that the group had “adopted important policies that will achieve recovery all the way to an economy that is resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and balanced”.
G20 leaders said that, while global economic activity has partially picked up thanks to the gradual reopening of some countries and sectors, the recovery was uneven and highly uncertain.