US to hold virtual foreign ministerial on COVID response on Nov. 10

The US will convene many of the world's foreign ministers virtually next week to discuss the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Blinken said the Nov. 10 gathering of top diplomats "will assess the current state of the global response to COVID-19, the virus’s impact, and the threat of future pandemics." Notably, Blinken said the meeting will address inequities in global vaccine distribution amid sharp criticism that developing nations have been left greatly underserved by the jab drive.

"Despite progress in worldwide vaccination, we are not where we need to be. This is not only a health crisis, but an economic, humanitarian, and security crisis as well," Blinken said in a statement.

"Governments must summon the political will to work together and with leading institutions and leaders across key sectors to keep the focus on both ending the pandemic and building back better global health security capacity and architecture so that we can collectively prevent, detect, and respond to emerging infectious disease threats," he added.

Blinken did not specify which diplomats would be in attendance, but said his counterparts and leaders from regional and international organizations would be included.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used this year's gathering of world leaders at the General Assembly to assail searing inequity in vaccine access as the developed world mulls booster shots for its populations while many in developing regions are desperately searching for immunizations.

“This is a moral indictment at the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test, but we are getting an F in ethics,” he said.


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