In his virtual address to thw 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his foreign counterparts at the world body that the “notion of the international community looks tattered” after the global Covid-19 crisis.
In a pre-recorded speech on Saturday, Johnson said: “After nine months of fighting COVID-19, the very notion of the international community looks, frankly, pretty tattered. And we know that we simply can’t continue in this way.
“Unless we get our act together. Unless we unite and turn our fire against our common foe, we know that everyone will lose. The inevitable outcome would be to prolong this calamity and increase the risk of another.
“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.”
In the address, he said that the UK will contribute 500 million pounds in aid funding to the Covax vaccines procurement pool, which aims to help poorer countries access a coronavirus jab when one is developed, the BBC reported.
Johnson said that “we must never cut corners” or “sacrifice safety to speed” in the search for a vaccine.
“Because it would be an absolute tragedy if, in our eagerness, we were to boost the nut-jobs – the anti-vaxers, dangerous obsessives who campaign against the whole concept of vaccination and who would risk further millions of lives,” he added.
During the pre-recorded address, the Prime Minister also announced a plan, developed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust, to help stop future pandemics.
It includes 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 vaccine.
He also promised 340 million pounds to the World Health Organization over the next four years – a 30 per cent increase on the previous period, making the UK one of its biggest donors.
Concluding the address, Johnson added: “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.”