Ex-prime ministers John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are among a group of 92 former world leaders calling for a global financial stimulus to tackle the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The creation of a G20 executive task force and an immediate global pledging conference which would approve and co-ordinate a multibillion-dollar coronavirus fighting fund are among the ideas being proposed.
The open letter addressed to current G20 leaders urges global action and a commitment to better funding for international institutions like the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The letter states: ‘The economic emergency will not be resolved until the health emergency is addressed: the health emergency will not end simply by conquering the disease in one country alone but by ensuring recovery from Covid-19 in all countries.’
The former leaders also call for a speed up in the search for a vaccine, cure and treatments and expanding efforts to revive the global economy.
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The letter continues: ‘World leaders must immediately agree to commit eight billion US dollars as set out by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board – to fill the most urgent gaps in the Covid-19 response.
‘This includes one billion dollars this year for the WHO, three billion dollars for vaccines and 2.25 billion dollars for therapeutics.
‘Instead of each country, or state or province within it, competing for a share of the existing capacity, with the risk of rapidly-increasing prices, we should also be vastly increasing capacity by supporting the WHO in coordinating the global production and procurement of medical supplies, such as testing kits, personal protection equipment, and ITU technology to meet fully the worldwide demand.
‘We will also need to stockpile and distribute essential equipment.
’35 billion dollars will be required, as highlighted by WHO, to support countries with weaker health systems and especially vulnerable populations, including the provision of vital medical supplies, surge support to the national health workforce.’