G-7 Leaders Expected to Commit to Plan to Handle Future Pandemics

Global leaders meeting at the G-7 summit in England are expected to commit to the “Carbis Bay Declaration” to crush any future pandemics within the first 100 days.

The leaders held talks Saturday on the second day of the summit in southwestern England’s resort village of Carbis Bay. They were expected to pledge support for the plan before the summit ends Sunday.

Hard-hit India was invited to the summit, but its delegation elected not to attend in person because of the nation’s severe outbreak.

India’s health ministry said Saturday that 84,332 new COVID-19 infections had been reported in the previous 24 hours, its lowest daily count in 70 days.

Russia said Saturday that it had a daily toll of 13,510 new cases, more than 1,000 more than it reported Friday.

As of midafternoon Saturday, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center in the U.S. was reporting that the global count of COVID-19 infections had reached more than 175.4 million. The U.S. has recorded the most cases at 33.5 million, followed by India with 29.4 million. Russia has recorded more than 5.1 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins.

The main doctors union in Britain called on the government to delay its plans to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions, as new data showed a spike in cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The British Medical Association said Friday that a “sensible delay” would help stop infections from rising.

Government figures on Friday showed 8,125 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since February. The Delta variant, originally identified in India, now accounts for 90% of all new cases in the country.

According to the COVID-19 road map laid out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, all pandemic-related restrictions were scheduled to be lifted June 21, a week from Monday.

Minister urges caution

However, in an interview Friday, British vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the nation must be very careful about the opening, given the dominance of the Delta variant.

Zahawi said the government should examine the data from this weekend very carefully and share it with the nation, and then decide about reopening.

Johnson is expected to announce Monday that the restrictions will stay in place, likely for another four weeks.

Meanwhile, Chicago became the largest U.S. city to fully reopen Friday. During a news conference formally announcing the reopening, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that for more than a year, Chicago residents have endured so much, but they did their part every step of the way.

“You masked up, you got vaxxed up, and now it’s time for you to get up, get out of the house this summer and fully and safely enjoy the events of the best city on the planet, our beloved city of Chicago,” Lightfoot said.

Earlier Friday, G-7 leaders announced they would donate a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to low- and medium-income nations. The U.S. will donate 500 million shots, while Britain will donate 100 million doses.

US vaccinations

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 64% of Americans 18 and older had had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The Associated Press reported Friday that because of slowing demand for vaccinations, some states have stopped new orders for vaccine doses and others have sent millions of doses back to the federal government. States sending vaccines back to the government included Tennessee and North Carolina, even though less than half of their populations have been vaccinated.

In other developments Friday, Malaysia’s government said it would extend a two-week nationwide lockdown by another two weeks because daily infections remained high at more than 6,000.

Sri Lanka also extended its lockdown for another week as deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 on Friday.

Source: Voice of America