Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

G7 nations vow to cooperate on next health crisis

- Agencies

Health ministers from the G7 bloc of wealthy nations met on Thursday in Britain to discuss sharing vaccines with poorer countries, as calls continue to ensure fairer global distributi­on of doses.

The meeting in Oxford in southern England came ahead of next week’s G7 summit, hosted by the UK, which is set to be dominated by discussion of the coronaviru­s pandemic and recovery plans.

“We’ll be working together with G7 partners to try to meet the objective that a vaccine is made available right across the world,” UK health secretary Matt Hancock told reporters. “After all, this is a global pandemic and nobody is safe from it until everybody is safe.”

The G7 gathering was also set to focus on improving identifica­tion of animal-borne infections, given three-fifths of all infections jump from animals to humans.

The ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US vowed to “combat future health threats by working together to identify early warning signs from animals and the environmen­t” and pledged to boost internatio­nal cooperatio­n in a bid to avert future crises akin to the coronaviru­s pandemic.

“There will be more diseases that cross that boundary from animals to humans,” Hancock added. “We must be better prepared as a world in the future and that is something that is very much on the table in the discussion­s.”

A G7 report on progress in efforts to improve health in developing countries will be published on Thursday.

The meeting of ministers comes ahead of the G7 leaders’ summit starting June 11, where the world’s efforts to prevent health emergencie­s will also be in focus. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to use the G7 presidency to implement a plan for avoiding future pandemics, which includes creating a global network of research hubs to spot outbreaks before they take hold.

The surveillan­ce plan also intends to spot new variants of coronaviru­s and monitor vaccine resistance in various population­s.

Queen to meet Biden after G7 summit in UK

Queen Elizabeth II will meet in person with US President Joe Biden on June 13 after he attends a G7 summit in Britain, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

It said the 95-year-old monarch will meet the president and first lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle west of London, where she has largely lived since the coronaviru­s pandemic first swept Britain in March 2020.

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