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World

Fresh warning from Covid solutions group, one year on

  • At its launch on April 25 last year, the pandemic was still in its infancy.
Published April 23, 2021

GENEVA: One year on, backers of a giant global programme to develop and deliver Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments warned Friday the pandemic would not end without a renewed world effort.

The Access to Covid Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a multi-billion-dollar internationally-coordinated attempt to find ways to beat the pandemic, made rapid strides in speeding up vaccine development -- though a Covid cure remains elusive.

The scheme is seeking $22 billion this year to further the assault on the pandemic, but only has $11.1 billion in commitments so far.

"At the one-year anniversary of the launch of the ACT-Accelerator, world leaders face a choice: invest in saving lives by treating the cause of the pandemic everywhere, now, or continue to spend trillions on the consequences with no end in sight," the scheme said in an impact report.

"The time to act is now.

"It is the fastest and most effective way to save lives, protect health systems and restore economies."

ACT said the cost was less than one percent of what governments are spending on stimulus packages to reboot Covid-scarred economies.

At its launch on April 25 last year, the pandemic was still in its infancy.

The death toll -- now more than three million -- stood at around 190,000, while only 2.7 million people had been infected, compared to nearly 144 million confirmed cases today.

The launch saw world leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, UN chief Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa issue the call for global investment in finding solutions.

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