COVID takes center stage at the G7 meeting, as world leaders strive to end the pandemic by 2022 and prevent the next one.
One topic will be at the forefront of world leaders’ minds as they assemble in Cornwall, England this week: overcoming the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the world for the past year and preventing it from happening again.
The G7 summit, which began on Friday, has been dominated by COVID-19. Rather than warm pleasantries, unpleasant elbow bumps have taken their place. Face masks have been worn by some leaders, notably Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Why don’t we simply make a collective photo?” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested after many socially separated images with individual participants upon arrival.
Even for the group photo and later at the round table, where they are scheduled to spend the day trying to hash out strategies to work together on important global challenges, guests were spaced several feet apart.
“The people of our countries now want us to make sure we’re battling the pandemic together and addressing how we’ll never see what we’ve seen again, but also that we’re rebuilding better together,” Johnson said in brief remarks to the media before the private meetings began.
“I honestly believe that this is a conference that legitimately has to take place because we need to ensure that we learn from the pandemic and do not repeat some of the mistakes that were made.”
COVID-19 cases skyrocketed and spread globally last summer, prompting the cancellation of the 2020 G7 conference, which was set to take place in the United States.
“Seeing everyone in person is very wonderful,” Johnson remarked. “We’ve all been living through the most dreadful pandemic our countries have ever known for at least our lifetimes, if not much longer.”
It’s President Joe Biden’s first travel outside of the United States since assuming office in January. He didn’t speak at the G7 summit’s opening ceremony, but the White House gave Washington Newsday and other reporters facts about his shared goal of eliminating the global pandemic by 2022 and preventing future outbreaks.
“Vaccinating the world’s most vulnerable, providing emergency supplies, bolstering global economic recovery, and positioning the international community to prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to future biological catastrophes” are all part of the G7+ action plan that will be agreed to by leaders in Cornwall, according to the White House. This is a condensed version of the information.