Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined other world leaders on Monday as part of an online conference organized to raise US$8-billion for a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19.
Mr. Trudeau also had a pointed message during the event: No one country can fight the virus alone.
“We can’t just have the wealthiest countries, the most successful scientific countries, have this success and not share it with the world, because we will not be safer until we’re able to share it with the world,” he said.
Canada is part of the global effort, Mr. Trudeau added, citing $850-million in federal support including for research and development and international vaccine development, as well as funding for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) work on treatment and support for developing countries.
The online event, organized by the European Union, takes place after President Donald Trump announced last month that the U.S. would halt suspend funding to the WHO citing concerns over how it handled the pandemic.
International Development Minister Karina Gould told The Globe and Mail on Monday that the conference was about a show of global solidarity and the need to underscore that a vaccine must be available, accessible and affordable.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, also said the true measure of success will not only be how fast safe and effective tools can be developed but how “equally we can distribute them.”
As for its dialogue with the U.S., Ms. Gould said Canada recognizes the importance of the World Health Organization, adding that it will continue to encourage all countries to be part of the global partnership.
Michael Messenger, the president and CEO of World Vision Canada, said Monday that there still needs to be urgent action to find a vaccine and defeat the virus.
“It’s a race against time to prevent a total catastrophe, especially in refugee camps and other highly vulnerable places,” he said.
Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s head of health policy, said more money will be needed to support the global manufacture and “fair distribution of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics."
She said Mr. Trump remains isolated and antagonistic to an international collaboration aimed at saving lives across the globe.
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