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German president calls for global COVID-19 alliance

April 1, 2020

In an opinion for a British newspaper, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and four other world leaders have pleaded for global cooperation. Rapid testing and vaccines for vulnerable populations are key, they write.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Image: Imago images/ddbd

Together with heads of state from four other countries, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a "truly global alliance" to fight the coronavirus pandemic in a letter published in the British daily Financial Times on Wednesday.

Read more: What are the lockdown measures across Europe?

"There cannot be victory over the virus in one, or some, countries alone. We all have something to contribute regardless of the size of our economies or populations. A global solution is in everybody's self-interest," Steinmeier wrote, along with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Presidents Halimah Yacob of Singapore, Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia and Lenin Moreno Garces of Ecuador.

"Enhanced co-operation and solidarity" rather than "geopolitical turf battles" and pooling scientific research are "the most convincing way" to fight the pandemic, the leaders wrote.

The number of infections worldwide of COVID-19 has climbed to more than 860,000, with over 42,000 deaths. Key equipment needed to fight the disease, such as face masks, disinfectant and ventilators, are in short supply across world markets. Many countries, including those with highly developed health care systems such as Italy, have been overwhelmed by the pandemic.

Read more: Disinformation and propaganda during the coronavirus pandemic

What would a global coronavirus alliance look like?

The heads of state wrote that a future alliance should focus on four key objectives, including the development of vaccines. Once developed, these should also be used to protect everyone, including vulnerable groups such as refugees.

The future alliance would also ensure "fair and equitable distribution of testing kits and critical medical equipment for all."

The alliance would also "articulate the immense benefits of a co-ordinated, co-operative global response to the crisis."

kmm/ cmb (dpa, kna, Reuters)

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