The Group of Seven (G7) countries held an emergency video summit on Monday on the increasing threat of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. US President Donald Trump came under fire as world leaders made it clear that medical firms must share and coordinate research on Coronavirus vaccines rather than provide products exclusively to one country. The US was reportedly looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac and Trump had offered funds to lure the company to shift to America.
The G7 consists of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan and also gets representation of the European Union. The idea of a summit at the heads of state level was proposed last week by French President Emmanuel Macron.
After the one-hour call, members of the G7 issued a joint statement in which it held that it is committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts. “By acting together, we will work to resolve the health and economic risks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and set the stage for a strong recovery of strong, sustainable economic growth and prosperity,” the bloc said.
The statement said that G7 countries would stress the value of real-time information sharing on COVID-19 cases and improve prevention strategies and mitigation measures. The countries would pool epidemiologic and other data to better understand and fight the virus.
During the summit, EU commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc had learned lessons from the previous Ebola epidemic on the need to set up a platform of renowned scientists, known as CEPI – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation – to share research.
"We will increase coordinated research efforts, including through voluntary support for the global alliance Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation. We will support the launch of joint research projects funded by both public and private resources, and the sharing of facilities, towards rapid development, manufacture and distribution of treatments and a vaccine, adhering to the principles of efficacy, safety, and accessibility," the joint statement said.
The leaders have also discussed the need to have their respective finance ministers coordinate on a weekly basis on the implementation of monetary and fiscal measures to achieve strong growth in the G7 economies and to safeguard against downside risks. Central banks across the industrialised world have slashed interest rates to lowest levels in nearly a decade to support markets reeling under the threat of a global recession due to Coronavirus pandemic.
"We call on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group and other International Organizations to further support countries worldwide as part of a coordinated global response, focused on this specific challenge. We also ask our finance ministers to work closely with International Organizations to design and implement swiftly the international financial assistance that is appropriate to help countries, including emerging and developing economies, face the health and economic shock of COVID-19," the statement said.