World Health Organisation (WHO) special Covid envoy Dr David Nabarro appeared on Sky News to discuss the proposals for a global treaty between countries to tackle any future pandemics. The UK joined France, Germany and many other world leaders in their support for such a treaty. But it was pointed out to Dr Nabarro that things have not worked out well so far during this coronavirus pandemic, with the WHO chief telling the EU to “work together” with other international actors.
Speaking on Sky News, presenter Jonathan Samuels asked Mr Nabarro: “World leaders are calling for this treaty this global pandemic treaty so we’re better prepared in the future, do we need this because the WHO isn’t up to scratch?”
Mr Nabarro replied: “Well, the WHO is quite a small organisation its budget is about the same as an average district hospital.
“And it also works where it can and it depends hugely on national governments to decide where it can act and what it can do.
“And so the treaty is an idea to really make sure that when dealing with pandemics instead of having to set everything up from scratch each time the problem happens we’ve got all those steps in place properly tested rehearsed and then organised through a treaty which says what everybody is going to do.
“And it would really improve the response so that instead of actually having fragmentation between countries – we’ll be working together on a common adversary.”
Mr Samuels then asked a follow-up question: “I mean it’s a great idea, isn’t it, in principle?
“But of course we’re in the middle of a pandemic and countries are far from working together.
“Whether it’s India holding back vaccines, the EU threatening to block exports, whether it’s the UK saying it’s going to look after its own population before it gives away any surplus.
“We’ve got a global shortage of vaccine, we lack treatments that work, everybody should be working together and we shouldn’t be in competition with each other at all.
“Because all the time this is going on half a million people are getting infected with the virus every day and 10,000 people are dying every day.
“So my point to you and my point to all viewers is it’s time to get working together and to recognise that this is a problem that we’re all facing and we’ve got to respond to it together.”
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has drawn criticisms from member-states and other countries for threatening a vaccine export ban to countries with high vaccination rates.
Countries grow concerned that supply chains of privately agreed contracts and deals could be disrupted for reasons out of their control.
While the ban has only been used once for an Italian shipment being sent to Australia there are fears an all-out vaccine war could break out as the continent struggles with the pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly open to sharing Dutch manufactured vaccines destined for the UK with the EU in a “peace offering”.