COVID-19 vaccine should be available to all nations, Duterte tells UN
MANILA, Philippines — Speaking for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed on Wednesday that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, once available, should be made available to all nations “as a matter of policy.”
In his 20-minute speech before other world leaders, Duterte said “coordinated international plans and efforts” would be needed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, which he called the “biggest test the world and the United Nations faced since World War II.”
“COVID-19 knows no border. It knows no nationality. It knows no race. It knows no gender. It knows no age. It knows no creed,” Duterte said.
“The Philippines values the role that the United Nations plays in its fight against the pandemic. As a middle-income country whose economic advances have been derailed by the pandemic, we welcome the launch of the UN COVID Response and Recovery Fund,” he added.
Ensuring universal access to the COVID-19 technologies and products would be pivotal in ensuring recovery from the global pandemic, Duterte pointed out.
“The world is in the race to find a safe and effective vaccine,” he said. “When the world finds that vaccine, access to it must not be denied nor withheld. It should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.”
He added: “The Philippines joins our partners in the ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement in raising our collective voice: the COVID-19 vaccine must be considered a global public good. Let us be clear on this.”
The infectious respiratory disease, which was first detected in the Chinese province of Hubei late last year, has so far infected over 31 million people worldwide.
In the Philippines, the total COVID-19 caseload has reached 291,789 as of Tuesday, including 230,643 recoveries and 5,049 deaths.
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