Boris Johnson urges countries to ‘pull together’ to create coronavirus vaccine

PUBLISHED: 09:33 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:27 04 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, as he resumes working after spending two weeks recovering from Covid-19. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, as he resumes working after spending two weeks recovering from Covid-19. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson is urging every country to work together in response to the coronavirus pandemic to form a vaccine, which he describes as the “most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”.

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The prime minister is expected to tell an online pledging conference - co-hosted by the UK and eight other countries and organisations - that the sooner states share their expertise the faster scientists will succeed in defeating the disease.

The PM will tell Monday’s conference, part of a Brussels initiative, that the race to develop a vaccine is “not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”.

“It’s humanity against the virus - we are in this together and together we will prevail,” he is expected to say.

The UK government has pledged £388 million to the European scheme to help fill gaps in funding of the scientific fight-back against Covid-19.

On Sunday Michael Gove said that some social distancing measures would remain in place until a vaccine has been developed but that the government would seek to restore people’s lives to “as close to normal as possible”.

The chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster warned that people would have to live with “some degree of constraint” until they can be immunised against the deadly disease - suggesting Britons would have to accept a “new normal”.

The cabinet minister told the daily Downing Street press conference: “Ultimately, unless and until we have a vaccine then I suspect that we are going to have to live with some degree of constraint because of the nature of the virus.

“But we obviously want to, wherever possible, and consistent with the measures on public health, restore people’s lives to as close to normal as possible.”

He said the government will pursue a “phased approach” to removing lockdown restrictions rather than a sudden return to “the old normal” - and that the easing had to be done in a “cautious fashion”.

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