Coronavirus: UK pledges £500m to global vaccine-sharing scheme

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make the announcement in a speech to the United Nations general assembly.Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make the announcement in a speech to the United Nations general assembly.

He will call on world leaders to overcome their differences as he sets out plans to prevent future global pandemics.

He will also promise extra funding for the World Health Organization.

Mr Johnson will tell foreign counterparts at the UN that the "notion of the international community looks tattered" after the Covid-19 crisis.

He will call for states to "reach across borders and repair these ugly rifts", as he announces a plan, developed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust, to help stop future pandemics.

The proposals include developing a global network of "zoonotic hubs" to identify dangerous pathogens before they jump from animals to humans, as well as improving manufacturing capacity for treatments and vaccines.

In a pre-recorded speech to be played on Saturday afternoon, the prime minister will say: "After nine months of fighting Covid, the very notion of the international community looks tattered.

"We know that we cannot continue in this way. Unless we unite and turn our fire against our common foe, we know that everyone will lose.

"Now is the time, therefore, here at what I devoutly hope will be the first and last ever Zoom UNGA, for humanity to reach across borders and repair these ugly rifts.

"Here in the UK, the birthplace of Edward Jenner who pioneered the world's first vaccine, we are determined to do everything in our power to work with our friends across the UN to heal those divisions and to heal the world."

Other measures being proposed include designing a global pandemic early warning system, improving the ability to collect and analyse samples and distribute the findings.

The plan also calls for common protocols to be agreed on sharing data.

Mr Johnson is also proposing states reduce trade barriers on Covid-critical products, such as soap, to help the global response.

The £500m in aid funding will go to the Covax vaccines procurement pool, which aims to help poorer countries access a coronavirus jab when one is developed.

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