Leaders from the world’s richest countries pushed for equality in the race to vaccinate people against the coronavirus while President Donald Trump stayed silent about sharing U.S.-made vaccines with other nations.
The fight against the pandemic dominated the first day of a virtual summit of the group of 20 nations on Saturday hosted by Saudi Arabia.
The U. . S.. . President told his colleagues that any American who wants the vaccine will be able to get it, raising American producers Pfizer Inc. . , whose Jab was developed together with a German company, and Moderna Inc. . According to officials who asked not to be named, over the conversations that were not open to the press.
Trump praised American leadership, claiming he was an effective fight against the virus and a success in strengthening the economy. But he said nothing about giving the rest of the world access to American vaccines.
U. . S.. . The number of deaths from coronavirus continues to rise after recently hitting 250. 000, and the nation repeatedly hits a record for daily cases. The total number of infections is nearly 12 million, with states like Ohio and California seeing new Covid-19 case highs.
Shortly after Trump’s statements, he left the virtual session – while U. . K. . Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke – and was replaced first by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and then by White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow, according to officials familiar with the meeting. Several other leaders also dropped out after giving their speeches, officials said.
Trump later left the White House for his golf course in Virginia. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russia celebrated its success in August as the first country to register a Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V.. U. . S.. . and European competitors are now moving faster to manufacture their vaccines and get regulatory approval. The European Union has concluded an agreement with Pfizer, which works with the German BioNTech SE, and is negotiating an agreement with Moderna.
China is already introducing mass vaccines to fight the disease and offering them as a soft power tool.
Echoing Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said it was up to each individual to decide whether to get vaccinated, adding that the pandemic should not justify attacks on people’s freedom.
Trump wasn’t the only one to praise his own country’s efforts. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin also said his country is ready to share its vaccines with others who need them. This is true even if Russia has not produced enough doses to begin mass vaccinating its own people.
« The main risk, of course, despite some positive signals, remains the likelihood of mass, long-term unemployment and the associated rise in poverty and social upheaval, » Putin said in his speech. « And the role of the G-20 is to make sure that doesn’t happen. ”
« It is a case where competition can be inevitable, but we have to start with humanitarian considerations first and make it a priority, » Putin added of his comments on vaccine availability, according to an official Kremlin translation.
China also made a point of offering its vaccines. « China will keep its promise to provide help and support to developing countries and strive to make vaccines a global public good that is accessible and affordable for all countries, » President Xi Jinping said at the meeting, state broadcaster CCTV said.
Xi also urged G-20 members to help the World Health Organization coordinate resource allocation to ensure fair and efficient distribution of vaccines around the world.
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the meeting that the G-20 should work to ensure “the affordable and fair distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine for all. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said countries should share vaccines and stressed the importance of multilateral cooperation against the virus, according to a G-20 official.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who holds the rotating presidency of the African Union of 55 nations, called on all countries to have « equitable and affordable access » to a vaccine as soon as it becomes available and called for the G-20 to help ensure any funding bottlenecks are resolved.
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