Johnson commits UK cash to international fund to tackle future pandemics

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The UK has promised £25 million to help found a new international fund to prevent or prepare for future pandemics.

The money for a new World Bank fund is aimed at preventing another catastrophe with the health and economic impacts of Covid-19.

The UK aid money will go to a “financial intermediary fund” to provide support for countries whose healthcare systems are dangerously unprepared for large outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Announcing the plan at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau, Germany, Boris Johnson said: “While the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic are, thankfully, behind us, we cannot be complacent.

“The next potential pandemic could emerge any moment and with it the devastating human and economic consequences we have experienced over the last two-and-a-half years.

“We must ensure we learn the lessons of Covid-19 and are better prepared next time. We owe it to the people of the world to say, ‘never again’.”

The funding announced by the Prime Minister will establish the UK as a founding donor to the fund, alongside the US, European Union and others.

G7 Summit
Boris Johnson and other world leaders including Joe Biden are meeting in Germany (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Officials fear the chance of a pandemic on the scale of Covid-19 occurring in the next 25 years could be as high as 50% and a key lesson since 2020 is that even small investments in preparedness can have huge returns.

David Malpass, president of the World Bank Group, said: “I welcome the UK’s support for the new financial intermediary fund to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response functions in developing countries.

“The fund will provide a dedicated stream of additional, long-term funding to complement the work of existing institutions and operate with high standards of transparency and accountability.

“Covid-19 highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and mobilise additional resources to prepare for the next pandemic in countries, regions, and around the world.”

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