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COVID-19

Intervention on health and vaccine equity critical

September 18, 2021 4:45 pm

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic could have been managed better.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Minister’s Meeting, Bainimarama highlighted that it is time we reckon with the failures that fanned the flames of the pandemic’s devastation.

He highlighted that when the first waves of fear and uncertainty hit, masks, ventilators, testing kits, and PPEs were siphoned off by nations with the markets and the means to pay for large-scale shipments.

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Bainimarama says Fiji, and many other Small Island Developing States spent critical months at the back of the queue for these life-saving essentials.

He highlighted the same strains of nationalism re-ignited when the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines were developed.

“We are setting the stage for two worlds –– one that is safe and one that remains a pariah to the other. One that recovers, and one that languishes in vulnerability to the crises yet to come.”

Bainimarama says this pandemic cannot serve as a model for future health disasters – it is a lesson.

“A lesson in the vital importance of access and equity for all. Heeding its failures does not demand some multilateral miracle, it simply requires respect for the founding principles of our international system and a greater commitment to those most vulnerable among us.”

The Prime Minister stressing that the Commonwealth can be a beacon for cooperation that ensures the next crisis brings out the best of our multilateral system rather than exposing its shortcomings.

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