WHO warns against dangers of ‘vaccine nationalism’

The World Health Organization has warned against “vaccine nationalism”, cautioning richer countries that if they keep treatments to themselves they cannot expect to remain safe if poor nations remain exposed.

As global cases of Covid-19 passed 19 million on Friday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would be in the interest of wealthier nations to help every country protect itself against the disease.

“Vaccine nationalism is not good, it will not help us,” Tedros told the Aspen Security Forum in the United States, via video-link from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.

“For the world to recover faster, it has to recover together, because it’s a globalised world: the economies are intertwined. Part of the world or a few countries cannot be a safe haven and recover.

“The damage from Covid-19 could be less when those countries who… have the funding commit to this.”

Several countries are racing to find a vaccine for coronavirus, which has killed more than 700,000 people globally.

A study in the United States said that 300,000 Americans could die by December if the leaders of large cities fail to promote counter-measures such as mask-wearing

A team at the University of Washington said 70,000 lives could be saved if more people wore face coverings during the pandemic.

“We’re seeing a rollercoaster in the United States. It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down,” Dr Christopher Murray, director of the university’s respected Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said in announcing its latest forecast.

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