*Covid-19 an unprecedented challenge, says His Highness
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Thursday announced Qatar's pledge of $20mn in support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).
Speaking during a video conference of the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 held in London, the Amir also called upon the international community to work jointly to ensure fairness in providing necessary medicines and medical equipment to all countries.
The Amir further reiterated Qatar's support to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its co-ordinating efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and to promote global readiness to confront infectious diseases in the future.
"The Covid-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge and threat to all humanity at all levels," the Amir said.
"In the absence of an effective vaccine or cure, some countries and societies have found themselves faced with the choice between two options both of which are bitter to swallow: either to seek prevention by lockdowns that may cripple the economy, or put the lives of people at risk by opting not to sacrifice the economy.
"Some countries have chosen compromising solutions by combining continuing to coexist with the pandemic and fighting it at the same time," the Amir said.
"This crisis has shown that there is no alternative to international co-operation and exchange of experiences, which necessitate the redoubling of the joint efforts to eliminate Covid-19 with effective vaccines and cures, and preparations for confronting new epidemics in the long run.
"The State of Qatar has spared no effort to enhance the rapid response to counter the serious repercussions of the crisis, and has promptly taken all preventive procedures and measures to reduce its impact, and protect the citizens and residents on its soil," he said.
The Amir said Qatar has provided medical assistance to more than 20 countries around the world in terms of supplies of medical equipment and construction of field hospitals, in addition to providing $140mn worth of financial contribution for multilateral healthcare institutions working to develop vaccines and ensuring the efficiency of healthcare, especially in the least developed countries.
"In this context, we call upon the international community to work jointly to ensure fairness in providing necessary medicines and medical equipment to all countries," he said.
The Amir thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for hosting the video conference, which was attended by heads of states and governments, representatives of countries, heads of international and regional organisations and directors of many global companies supporting the programmess of GAVI.