The White House announced on Monday that the US, Germany, Belize, Indonesia and Senegal will host the second global COVID-19 summit in May.
While the pandemic has been pushed from the headlines in recent months, the Biden administration said a summit is necessary to “bring solutions to vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build better health security.”
The virtual summit will take place on May 12. Belize, as chair of the Caribbean Community; Germany, holding the G7 Presidency; Indonesia, holding the G20 Presidency; and Senegal as African Union Chair, will co-host the event.
“The emergence and spread of new variants, like Omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling COVID-19 worldwide,” read a statement from the White House.
“Together, we can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect those at the highest risk with vaccinations, testing, and treatments, actions to minimize disruption to routine health services, and through support for the ACT-Accelerator multilateral mechanism,” the latter a reference to a World Health Organization (WHO) program for financing vaccines and treatment.
US President Joe Biden hosted a similar summit back in September, in which he called on world leaders to meet the WHO’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population.
- While around 64% of the world’s population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, per WHO data, the disease still infected record numbers of people over the winter. As governments across the Western world turned to more coercive measures to force their populations to get vaccinated, the milder yet more vaccine-resistant Omicron variant spread unabated.
Now, with restrictions lifted in many countries, the conflict in Ukraine has forced the pandemic from the headlines, and only China is still deploying harsh lockdowns to contain relatively small outbreaks.
- However, the Biden administration still considers a summit necessary to get “shots into arms” and raise “sustainable financing for pandemic preparedness, health security, and health systems.”