Government calls for ceasefires globally so vaccines can be rolled out

UK government calls for ceasefires around the world so coronavirus vaccines can be rolled out in warzones

  • The Foreign Secretary will lead the call for local ceasefires at a meeting of UN
  • He is expected to say letting virus spread without vaccines will increase variants
  • Mr Raab will urge members of the UN council to agree a resolution for ceasefires

Conflict zones around the world should temporarily pause fighting to enable the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, Dominic Raab has said.

The Foreign Secretary will lead the call for local ceasefires at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

He is expected to warn allowing Covid-19 to spread in areas without vaccination campaigns will increase the risk of new variants taking hold.

The Foreign Secretary will lead the call for local ceasefires at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday

Mr Raab will urge members of the council to agree a resolution for negotiated vaccine ceasefires and help to ensure the most vulnerable people can access jabs.

The Foreign Office said more than 160million people around the world are at risk of being excluded from vaccines because of instability and conflict, in countries including Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Ahead of the Security Council meeting, Mr Raab said: ‘Global vaccination coverage is essential to beating coronavirus.

He is expected to warn allowing Covid-19 to spread in areas without vaccination campaigns will increase the risk of new variants taking hold. Pictured: Houthi fighters ride a truck in Sana’a, Yemen, on Tuesday

‘That is why the UK is calling for a vaccination ceasefire to allow Covid-19 vaccines to reach people living in conflict zones and for a greater global team effort to deliver equitable access.

‘We have a moral duty to act, and a strategic necessity to come together to defeat this virus.’

Ceasefires have been used to vaccinate vulnerable people in war-torn countries in the past, including in Afghanistan, where a two-day pause in fighting in 2001 enabled the vaccination of 5.7 million children under five against polio.

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