Activists demand leaders commit to global plan to beat coronavirus

Activists from The ONE Campaign have urged the world’s leaders to come together to commit to a coordinated global response to beat Covid-19 and prevent the pandemic being even more damaging, especially among the world’s most vulnerable people.

In the three months since China first notified the WHO of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, the world has seen the virus spread at a terrifying rate, claiming tens of thousands of lives and impacting millions of people on every continent.

Governments across the world have put in place a range of plans to bring the virus under control in their countries. However, despite the scale of the crisis, we are yet to see the coordinated response needed to beat the virus everywhere.

Today, ONE is calling for leaders to work together and develop a sustainable response to defeat the virus and to rebuild communities after the pandemic is over. To ensure plans are as effective as possible, the response must include clear steps to:

1. Protect the vulnerable, support essential workers, and make treatments available to all

2. Support the people who will be worst hit economically

3. Strengthen health systems around the world so we’re ready if this happens again

In a policy paper (see attached) setting out these measures, ONE is also calling for the response to be properly funded - including investing $8bn for R&D and a vaccine, a $100bn stimulus package for Africa including debt relief for the poorest countries, and an additional $4.6bn to fill the gap in pandemic preparedness for the poorest countries.

Gayle Smith, President and CEO of The ONE Campaign, said: “This is a global crisis that demands a global response. No country or community will be safe until all of us are safe. We are one world and, as we face the biggest global threat of our lifetimes, we should stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable whether they live across the street or across the ocean.

“We urge world leaders to stand with us and do whatever it takes to defeat the virus for everyone. This means coming up with a properly coordinated and funded global plan to drive the response to this pandemic and ensure the damage it wreaks is as limited as possible.”

In particular, ONE is calling on the global community to urgently support the world’s poorest countries as they manage the impact of the disease and withstand the global economic challenges that are likely to follow the pandemic.

Emily Wigens, EU Director at The ONE Campaign said: “The EU has been badly affected early on by this pandemic and has learned some lessons that could help other countries. But to defeat the virus we need to be successful globally, not just locally. Europe’s planned support package for partners, including Africa, will be a pivotal part of the global response.

“The EU and its Member States need to mobilise a humanitarian response of a scale not seen in decades. This should ensure equitable delivery of any future vaccine, as well as a financial package to support emerging economies and strengthen health systems.”

Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director at The ONE Campaign said: “Even the best health systems in the world have struggled to respond to the outbreak, and are crumbling under the pressure from this pandemic. While Africa is armed with lessons and expertise from Ebola, polio, HIV and other disease threats, Covid-19 could overwhelm countries with weak health systems, deepen economic toll and widen inequalities. No country is prepared enough to handle this."

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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