Boris Johnson urges nations to pull together and in coronavirus vaccine quest

‘It‘s humanity against the virus‘: Boris Johnson urges nations to pull together and brands £6bn vaccine quest ‘the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes‘ as UK records 315 more deaths

Boris Johnson will today warn that it is ‘humanity against the virus‘ as he co-hosts an international conference to drive the race for treatments, tests and vaccines.

The Prime Minister will urge countries to ‘pull together‘ and pool their expertise as they tackle the ‘most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes‘.

He will add: ‘We are in this together and together we will prevail.‘ 

Today‘s online pledging conference – co-hosted by the UK and eight other countries and organisations – aims to bring in more than £6.6billion in funding to support the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK has pledged to give £388million in aid funding for research into tests, treatments and vaccines – part of a £744million commitment to help end the pandemic and support the global economy through this period of widespread uncertainty.

It comes as the UK announced 315 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing total fatalities to 28,446 and putting the country on course to become the hardest hit in Europe. 

Mr Johnson, who himself contracted the virus in March, is expected to tell the conference: ‘To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine.

‘The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed.

‘The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes. It‘s humanity against the virus – we are in this together and together we will prevail.‘

Speaking today, Donald Trump revealed that he and Boris Johnson had discussed a potential vaccine ahead of the conference later. 

He told Fox News: ‘He [Mr Johnson] was a victim (of this thing). He thought it was all over.‘

Coronavirus has claimed more than 244,000 lives worldwide, according to analysis by Johns Hopkins University in the US. 

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: ‘By strengthening developing countries‘ health systems and working to find a vaccine, the UK is playing its part in stopping the global spread of coronavirus to save lives everywhere and protect our NHS.‘

Writing in The Independent newspaper on Sunday, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Norway and senior EU officials said the outbreak ‘caused devastation and pain in all corners of the world‘.

They said responding to the ‘global challenge‘ requires ‘bringing together the world‘s best – and most prepared – minds to find the vaccines, treatments and therapies we need to make our world healthy again‘.

Michael Gove yesterday admitted there would be a time for ‘deep and probing questions about lessons we can learn as a country from how we handled this crisis in its early stages‘. 

He added: ‘Undoubtedly this government, like all governments, will have made mistakes.‘ 

It is understood the Sage committee of top scientists will today back the public use of face masks in a live-streamed meeting designed to embarrass the Government for its alleged lack of transparency.

The number of people who have died with coronavirus in UK hospitals, care homes and the wider community yesterday rose by 315, the lowest since the end of March.

The deaths brought the total number of fatalities to 28,446.

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