Senegal, U.S. to help lead upcoming global COVID-19 summit

Senegal, U.S. to help lead upcoming global COVID-19 summit
People stand in line for a COVID-19 test at a mobile testing site in Times Square on December 28, 2021, in New York. /AFP

Senegal, the United States and several other nations will gather in May for a virtual summit to discuss an end to the COVID-19 crisis.

The summit, set to take place on May 12, will also discuss ways to deal with future upheavals. Germany, Indonesia and Belize are also taking part in the event.

“The summit will redouble our collective efforts to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future health threats,” the countries said in a joint statement.

This will be the second global huddle on the pandemic, which has killed more than six million people and triggered profound disruption to leading economies and trading patterns in the two years since it began to spread.

U.S. president, Joe Biden hosted a similar summit last September, at which he urged partners to surge vaccines and ensure that 70 percent of every country has been vaccinated by September this year.

“In advance of the May 12 summit, we are calling on world leaders, members of civil society, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists, and the private sector to make new commitments and bring solutions to vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build better health security — for everyone, everywhere,” the joint statement said.

“The emergence and spread of new variants, like Omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling COVID-19 worldwide,” it said.

And while the latest variants are less lethal, the summit statement stressed there must be a focus on stopping similar future catastrophes from taking the world by surprise.

“We know we must prepare now to build, sustain, and finance the global capacity we need, not only for emerging COVID-19 variants but also future health crises,” the statement said.