G7 leaders yesterday opened a three-day summit aimed at helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic and forge a climate-centric economic recovery, after pledging to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world’s poorest countries.
US President Joe Biden and his colleagues from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK sat down for their first face-to-face gathering in nearly two years, after the pandemic wiped out last year’s summit.
Meeting under the protection of a smothering security operation in the Cornish resort of Carbis Bay, England, the leaders are also expected to address warnings to Russia and China.
Most of the G7 heads of state and government are to reconvene on Monday in Brussels for a NATO meeting, before Biden heads to his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland, vowing to deliver a blunt appraisal of Russian behavior.
After arriving in the UK on Wednesday on his first foreign tour as president, Biden told US service personnel that “the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together.”
The G7’s host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said that the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China had also “badly shaken” the international order.
“At Carbis Bay, we must put those days behind us,” he said in a pre-summit message. “This is the moment for the world’s greatest and most technologically advanced democracies to shoulder their responsibilities and to vaccinate the world, because no one can be properly protected until everyone has been protected.”
Building on Biden’s pledge to order 500 million vaccine doses to distribute among poorer nations, Johnson plans to commit Britain to offering “at least” 100 million surplus doses within the next year.
In total, the G7 leaders are expected to adopt a broader commitment of offering up to 1 billion doses “to end the pandemic in 2022,” the British government said.
WHO Regional Office for Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said that vaccine-sharing was a “do or die” issue, with doses running short and cases rising across the continent.
Campaigners have slammed inequalities in distribution as “vaccine apartheid,” calling on rich nations to do more to help the Global South, including by waiving intellectual property rights on vaccines and treatments.
RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE: People must wear a mask when outdoors, while employers should allow working from home or flexible hours, Chen Shih-chung said The Cabinet yesterday extended a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert until June 28 as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 211 locally transmitted cases and 26 deaths. The CECC on May 15 issued the level 3 alert for Taipei and New Taipei City, saying it would last until May 28. Four days later, it expanded the alert to the entire nation before announcing on May 28 that the alert period had been extended to Monday next week. The latest extension was announced following a disease prevention meeting at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday morning. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
NUMBERS HAVE FALLEN: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said there are good signs, but ‘we cannot afford to let our guard down now’ The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 219 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the 219 local infections — 117 male and 102 female — were aged from under five to over 100 years old, and they began having symptoms between May 22 and Monday. New Taipei City reported 123 cases, followed by Taipei with 54, Miaoli County with 16, Taoyuan with 13, Keelung with eight, Changhua County with two, and one each in Hsinchu City, Taichung and Tainan. The 22 deaths were 15 men and