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Statement on the international Covid-19 response

6 May 2020

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The Secretary of State for International Development made a statement to the Commons on the international Covid-19 response.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan: "We are doing whatever it takes"

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Development, said there is a "daunting outlook for countries in the developing world".

She said these countries are "simultaneously facing a health crisis, a humanitarian crisis and the risk of a protracted economic crisis, leading to much greater hardship for years to come".

"The UK is proudly playing a leading role in the global response", she said.

She went on to say that on Monday the Prime Minister "co-hosted a virtual global coronavirus response pledging conference" with other world leaders.

She said "he called on countries around the world to step up their efforts and work together on this".

World leaders responded and "some £6.5 billion was pledged for the Covid-19 response". Which includes "the UK's own £388 million commitment for vaccines, tests and treatments".

She concluded by saying:

"We are doing whatever it takes to make sure vaccines, treatments and technologies are available. To save lives and to support economies in the most vulnerable countries, to help end the pandemic.

"This will help reduce the risk of the world being attacked by a second wave of infection".

Preet Kaur Gill: "creating division and competition between nations will cost lives"

Preet Kaur Gill, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, responded to the statement.

She asked "how much of that [£388 million] was new additional money?" and what steps she is taking to secure buy-in from those who did not attend the event or those who did not contribute, such as the United States and China".

Following the comments from the Health Secretary about an "upside of being first to discover a vaccine", she said "creating division and competition between nations will cost lives".

She asked about "concrete conditions" the Government is attaching to public money going to researching and manufacturing tests, vaccines and medical tools.

Preet went on to say that "since the week of 22 March UNICEF has reported a 70%-80% reduction in planned vaccine shipments".

She asked "with a huge increase in the cost of flights to deliver goods, what steps is she [Anne-Marie Trevelyan] taking to get medical supplies to countries that are running out and to stop airline companies profiteering from the global pandemic".

"With the UK playing its part as a key jurisdiction for international debt contracts, can the Secretary of State explain what legislative options she is exploring to stop countries being crippled by private debt?", she said.

Image: PA

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