UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday joined over 20 other world leaders to call for a new international treaty to help the world prepare for and fight future pandemics collectively.
In a newspaper article published across Europe, leaders including German Chancellor Anegla Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron said COVID-19 posed the biggest global challenge since the world wars and had shown how “nobody is safe until everyone is safe”.
The ‘Daily Telegraph’ article, also published in ‘Le Monde’ in France and ‘El Pais’ in Spain, notes that such a new global treaty similar to that reached in the wake of World War II is needed to build cross-border cooperation.
In total 24 leaders have affirmed the article, including World Health Organisation (WHO) head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“At that time, following the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system,” it reads.
“The aims were clear: To bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism, and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation – namely peace, prosperity, health and security.”
The leaders said that in the same spirit, countries must now “be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion”.
A new treaty would help to establish better systems for alerting people about potential pandemics, they said, while also improving the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment.
“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”
Presently, the worldwide COVID-19 death toll stands at 2.79 million, along with over 127 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.