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Saturday, April 25, 2020, 09:57
WHO: World must ensure equal access for all to vaccines, drugs
By Reuters
Saturday, April 25, 2020, 09:57 By Reuters

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva on March 11, 2020. (FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

GENEVA/ZURICH/LONDON - Global leaders joined the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday to launch an initiative to accelerate efforts to contain COVID-19 and to share them around the world.

READ MORE: China pledges US$30m more for WHO's coronavirus fight

Launching what he called a “landmark collaboration” to speed the development of effective drugs, tests and vaccines to prevent and treat COVID-19, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the lung disease was a “common threat which we can only defeat with a common approach”.

All new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against the new coronavirus must be made equally available to everyone worldwide, said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“The world needs these tools and needs them fast,” Tedros said in a virtual meeting. “We are facing a common threat which we can only defeat with a common approach.”

All new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against the new coronavirus must be made equally available to everyone worldwide, Tedros said.

“Experience has told us that even when tools are available they have not been equally available to all. We cannot allow that to happen,” Tedros said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the objective at a global pledging effort in early May would be to raise 7.5 billion euros (US$8.10 billion) to ramp up work on prevention, diagnostics and treatment.

“This is a first step only, but more will be needed in the future,” she told the conference.

ALSO READ: WHO chief: Please quarantine politicization of virus

Cyril Ramaphosa, chairman of the African Union, praised WHO’s “excellent stewardship” in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept around the world. He warned that the African continent was “extremely vulnerable to the ravages of this virus and is in need of support”.

A spokesman for the US mission in Geneva told Reuters before the meeting that the United States would not be involved.

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