International Co-ordinated Action


04 Jun
04Jun

Here are some examples of international action being taken on a coordinated basis to help win the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic:

Central Banks

The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank announced on 20th March a coordinated action to further enhance the provision of liquidity via the standing U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements. News Release 

Food Supplies

On 25th March 2020, G7 Foreign Ministers (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU) agreed 5 critical areas were the priority for international action, including protecting global production and supply chains. Members agreed on the need to protect global production and vital supply chains and work together to ensure a speedy recovery from the crisis. Ministers committed to reducing tariffs in medical supplies and pharmaceutical products in order to help those most at risk. Gov.uk

International Shipping

Maritime transport carries around 90% of world trade. On 27th March 2020, The International Maritime Organization issued a Circular Letter to all its members saying that Consistent with the needs of our citizens, we will work to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, and work to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains, to support the health and well-being of all people. The Circular contains an Annex headed: PRELIMINARY LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOVERNMENTS AND RELEVANT NATIONAL AUTHORITIES ON THE FACILITATION OF MARITIME TRADE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. IMO

The IMF

The International Monetary Fund on 23rd March announced that, amongst other things, it was:

  1. concentrating on bilateral and multilateral surveillance on the Covid-19 crisis and on policy actions to temper its impact
  2. massively stepping up emergency finance— confirming that nearly 80 countries have requested its help
  3. working closely with the other international financial institutions to provide a strong coordinated response
  4. standing ready to deploy all of its US$1 trillion lending capacity  (The IMF is an organisation of 189 countries) IMF

The World Bank

On 17th March 2020, The World Bank and IFC’s Boards of Directors approved an increased $14 billion package of fast-track financing to assist companies and countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19. The bulk of the IFC financing will go to client financial institutions to enable them to continue to offer trade financing, working-capital support and medium-term financing to private companies struggling with disruptions in supply chains. The World Bank

Vaccines  

The UK hosts a virtual vaccine summit on 4th June 2020. The UK government hosts Gavi’s third donor pledging conference to mobilise at least US$ 7.4 billion in additional resources to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce disease inequality and create a healthier, safer and more prosperous world. 

Ffizer Inc.,  is collaboration with Biontech of Germany on 4 possible vaccines, which are undergoing Phase 1 human trials as at 22nd May 2020. Ffizer will do 'at risk' manufacturing of at least one vaccine, in anticipation of it being effective. "Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have entered into a global collaboration agreement to co-develop BioNTech’s potential first-in-class, mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine program aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection."

Oxford Vaccine Group and Imperial College: on 21st April 2020, the Health Secretary announced that it would be funding ongoing vaccine development at these two UK research institutes. Oxford will receive £20 m and Imperial College will receive £22.5 m. He also announced human clinical trials would start on Oxford's vaccine on 23rd April 2020. There is some confidence that one of these vaccines will work.

GlaxoSmithKline & Sanofi: On 14th April 2020, two of the world's largest healthcare & pharmaceutical companies, announced that they have partnered to develop, test, produce and distribute a Coronavirus vaccine on a massive scale. Their objective is to make 100s of millions of vaccine shots, using accelerated procedures that would normally take several years. Their statement says they expect: "..clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful, [vaccines] to be available in the second half of 2021".

Advent-IRBM & Oxford University: On 14th April 2020, Andolu Agency carried an article saying that an Anglo-Italian partnership was on the front line in the development of a Coronavirus vaccine, which could be ready in September, according to researchers.It also stated that the team had accelerated human testing of the vaccine, which will start in the U.K. at the end of April. 

World Health Organisation: On 13th April 2020, the WHO issued a Public statement for collaboration on COVID-19 vaccine development, saying that under WHO’s coordination, a group of experts with diverse backgrounds is working towards the development of vaccines against COVID-19. The signatories included scientists from around the world including Sir Jeremy Farrar, Josie Golding, Charlie Weller, on behalf of Wellcome Trust, UK.

CEPI: On 9th April 2020, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), announced that it was working with global health authorities and vaccine developers to support the development of vaccines against COVID-19.  CEPI stated that: "As of April 8, 2020, 115 vaccine candidates are in varying stages of development. 78 of which are confirmed as active and 37 are unconfirmed (development status cannot be determined from publicly available or proprietary information sources)."

ICMRA: On 2nd April, the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities published a report highlighting their considerations on the development of potential COVID-19 therapeutics, clinical trials and compassionate use programmes. The ICMRA also stated that: "At this point in time, no medicine has yet clearly demonstrated efficacy in treating COVID-19."

The Lancet: On 31st March 2020, The Lancet published an article stating that: "This vaccine effort should be guided by three imperatives: speed, manufacture and deployment at scale, and global access. In February, 2020, the World Bank and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which funds development of epidemic vaccines, co-hosted a global consultation on these goals."

The World Health Organisation: The WHO has launched an international drug trial to find the best treatment for the Coronavirus. The SOLIDARITY trial will take place in more than 10 countries around the world, with hospitals in each country able to treat patients with one of the four drugs. UK is now the biggest contributor to the international coalition to find a vaccine, with £210 million further funding announced on 26th March 2020.  Gov.uk

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation’s (CEPI’s): To date, CEPI has initiated eight COVID-19 vaccine development projects with Curevac, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, Novavax, The University of Hong Kong, The University of Oxford, The University of Queensland and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates. CEPI

Hydroxychloroquine trial begins in the UK- A trial to see whether two anti-malarial drugs could prevent Covid-19 is underway in Brighton and Oxford. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or a placebo will be given to more than 40,000 healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

Ventilators

Ventilator Challenge: On 15th April 2020, VentilatorChallengeUK consortium was reported as making an initial 5,000 machines for the NHS at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in north Wales. Staff from Airbus and Siemens have built assembly lines at the facility and companies across the country have supplied design skills and components.

Formula- 1: Project-Pitlane is a collective of UK-based Formula 1 teams engine manufacturers (Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, BWT Racing Point F1 Team, Haas F1 Team, McLaren F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, Renault DP World F1 Team, ROKiT Williams Racing ), and their respective technology arms is evaluating support for the manufacture of respiratory devices in response to the UK Government’s call for assistance.  F1

MIT: This world renowned university has said it will post free plans online for an emergency ventilator that it claims can be built for as a little as US$100. The team, called MIT E-Vent (for emergency ventilator), was formed on March 12, 2020. Clinical and design considerations will be published online with a stated goal to support rapid scale-up of the device's production to alleviate hospital shortages. SciTechDaily.com

Mercedes: Formula One engine manufacturer Mercedes has teamed up with clinicians and university engineers in London to design a breathing aid for coronavirus patients that can be quickly mass produced, a development that could help reduce the need for ventilators. The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, which was re-engineered from an existing machine in fewer than 100 hours, has been recommended for use by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. CNN Business

Medtronic: The Dublin-based company on 30th March announced that is has posted specs for its PB 560 ventilatorto enable participants across industries to evaluate options for rapid ventilator manufacturing to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19" Forbes. Medtronic is publicly sharing the design specifications for the Puritan Bennett™ 560 (PB 560) to enable participants across industries to evaluate options for rapid ventilator manufacturing to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19. Medtronic

Cross Border Medical Support

CBI- The CBI's update on international updates.

Korea - EU: On 30th June 2020, South Korean President Moon Jae-in held an hour-long video conference with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel to discuss co-ordination of the coronavirus recovery. 

Italy - Germany: It didn't start well with EU countries seemingly refusing to help Italy in its hour of need at the start of March 2020. But, by mid March, Germany stepped in with 1 million face masks.

Russia - USA: Possibly the most bizarre and ironic incident of international help, Russia flew masks and medical equipment to the US (the world's richest nation) in early April 2020, with President Putin saying it was sent as 'humanitarian aid'. It was not an April fool despite the plane leaving on 1st April.

China - Rest of World: As many lay the blame for the Covid-19 pandemic at China's doorstep, possibly in an effort to be seen as being even-handed and generous, it was reported as sending medical supplies to several countries, including Cambodia Italy and Spain, and offered to help the Philippines.

Cuba - Italy: In late March, Cuba sent 50 doctors to Italy to help fight the virus there, while at the same time, the US administration was reported as trying to prevent other countries from accepting medical help from Cuba.  

Cuba - South Africa: The South African Government has approached Cuba and China for medical assistance with tackling the pandemic

France - EU: France has proposed an EU Coronavirus rescue fund pdf to tackle Covid-19 to be limited to five or ten years. 

EU - EU: Deep divisions within the European Union were reported in late March 2020 as hampering efforts to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Then, on 10th April 2020 European Union finance ministers announce they had agreed a rescue package worth €500bn to combat the coronavirus pandemic following a breakthrough. 

Indonesia - Singapore: In mid March, the Indonesian Government said it was is open to receiving medical help from its close neighbour, Singapore, which supplied some medical kit to one of the nearby islands.

Pakistan - Afghanistan: The Prime Minister of Pakistan on 20th March 2020 directed the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and said Islamabad would continue to support Kabul during the global coronavirus pandemic. 

UN - Afghanistan: The UN authorities briefed the President on 1st April 2020 on their programs, efforts and measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus in Afghanistan. 

Iran - Pakistan:  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in late March 2020, asking him to play a role in lifting US sanctions. Since then, Islamabad has speeded up diplomatic efforts to provide relief to Tehran in combating the disease.

Taiwan - EU: Taiwan has donated medical masks to the European Union. The shipment arrived in Luxembourg by air-cargo on 9th April 2020 for distribution by the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre to Italy and Spain.

Turkey - UK: Turkey delivered 250,000 items of PPE equipment for the NHS on Sunday 12th April 2020 (Easter Day).

New Zealand & Portugal - UK: In a broadcast after his remarkable recovery from a near-death battle with Coronavirus, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, named the clinical staff who had looked after him at St Thomas' Hospital, London and, in particular, he thanked a nurse from New Zealand and another from Portugal, who had been at his bedside over 48 hours.

Denmark - Italy: Italy received ventilators and a mobile hospital from Denmark.

WHO & WFP:  The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are coordinating to ship millions of items including personal protective gear, respirators, lab equipment and oxygen. Supply chain hubs will be located in Belgium, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia, Panama, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Turkey : UK: on 22nd April 2020, 840 tons (about half of the promised amount) of PPE arrived at RAF Brize Norton from Turkey after a controversial delay when it was announced by a Government Minister that it would arrive two days earlier on Sunday 19th April 2020. On 7th May 2020, it was reported that all the PPE shipped from Turkey (84 tonnes) had failed safety standards and had been impounded and not distributed. 

Myanmar-UK: Face masks made in Myanmar are purchased for delivery to the UK.

UK- International Pledging Conference: On 4th May, PM Boris Johnson said he will call on countries to come together in a “truly global effort” to defeat Coronavirus as he co-hosts a virtual Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference. He confirmed the UK’s promise of £388 m funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments. The conference, which is co-hosted by the European Union and its partners, seeks to raise €7.5 bn in initial funding to kick-start the global cooperation. China, India and the US are not however attending.

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