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UK ‘haemorrhaging moral authority’ over supply of Covid drugs for poor world

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The UK has been warned it’s “haemorrhaging moral authority” after tumbling into second-last place within the league table for the worldwide fight against Covid-19.

Only India ranked behind Britain within the evaluation of G20 states conducted by charity Christian Aid and the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

However the campaigners said not one of the group – made up of the world’s 19 strongest national economies and the EU – was doing enough to fight the pandemic in poorer countries across the globe.

The rating is an update of an index released by Christian Aid in March and endorsed by former prime minister Gordon Brown. Since that time, the UK has fallen from seventeenth to 18th place among the many 19 G20 states.

Based on research by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the index ranks G20 countries in three areas: global vaccine financing, national procurement and distribution, and support for trade and manufacturing policy reforms.

It found that every one G20 countries are falling far wanting “good global citizen” standards, after after wealthy countries hoarded vaccine doses, upheld pharmaceutical firms’ monopoly on supply and disrupted efforts to enhance vaccine manufacturing in the worldwide south.

The UK was marked down for its role in obstructing efforts on the World Trade Organisation to make it easier for low and middle-income countries to supply generic versions of Covid-19 treatments and tests.

Over two years, negotiators for Britain, Switzerland and the EU blocked proposals, backed by most G20 countries, for a broad waiver of mental property rules for Covid-19 vaccines, said campaigners. And the text they finally agreed in June was watered down from initial proposals.

A December deadline to increase the text to cover Covid-19 tests and coverings is reportedly being delayed by Britain.

Christian Aid chief of policy Oliver Pearce said: “The richest countries have a responsibility to enhance global access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and coverings, given their wealth and high vaccination rates.

“Governments financed research and development of those products and mustn’t leave pharmaceutical firms to monopolise supply and price.

“But, amid a collision of international crises, the UK is popping its back on the world and undermining efforts to supply more vaccines, tests, and coverings in lower-income countries.

“By holding back the worldwide pandemic response, the UK is haemorrhaging moral authority amongst international partners.”

(Christian Aid/People’s Vaccine Alliance)

South Africa was ranked top of the G20 list and Indonesia second for his or her record of supporting a waiver of mental property (IP) rules on medical products relevant to COVID-19 on the WTO.

Speaking because the Indonesia-hosted G20 summit drew to an end in Bali, People’s Vaccine Alliance Asia campaign co-ordinator Lanz Espacio said: “This yr’s G20 summit feels a great distance from the times when world leaders once said ‘nobody is protected until everyone seems to be protected’.

“Not a single G20 country has lived as much as its responsibility to combat Covid-19 world wide. Low and middle-income countries are sick of waiting for what the wealthy world may offer.

“We want to remove barriers like mental property rules to bolster medicine production in the worldwide south.”

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