The success of Qatar’s balanced and effective approach in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts once again was in the global limelight recently when His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani highlighted them during his address at the General Debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly last week at the UN headquarters in New York.
As the Amir rightly pointed out, this year’s in-person meeting under the theme ‘Restoring Hope’ sends an important message about returning to normality, without, of course, abandoning the means of protection and precaution. The meeting followed a difficult time that the world has experienced and is still experiencing as a result of the pandemic, which has left behind millions of victims and countless humanitarian, social and economic crises.
His Highness Sheikh Tamim recalled that the difficult test, which humanity is continuing to face, has revealed the flaws and vulnerabilities in our collective security system, while inspiring us with many lessons, namely, the importance of balancing the concern for people’s health and maintaining the economic cycle that secures at the same time their livelihoods, as well as the importance of integration between the indispensable role of the state within its borders, on the one hand, and its role in confronting cross-border issues and joint commitments to confront challenges, crises and disasters, on the other hand.
His Highness the Amir affirmed Qatar’s support for achieving the priorities included in the vision introduced for the session, emphasising the necessity of equitable distribution of vaccines, ensuring their accessibility to the countries in the Southern Hemisphere, and securing treatment for all, as well as the necessity of co-ordinating efforts to combat another pandemic, which is the pandemic of fake news, conspiracy theories and unprecedented scepticism about the feasibility of vaccines that also swept the world during this pandemic, which still hinders the necessary spread of vaccines against the backdrop of the continuation of this pandemic.
His Highness the Amir pointed out that Qatar has taken a balanced and effective approach in addressing the pandemic and its impacts on health and economy at the national level. Experience has shown that success in this confrontation depends both on the policies and capabilities of the state, especially in the field of public health, and the citizens’ sense of responsibility, and their level of awareness.
As the Amir stated, based on the partnership with the international community to confront global crises, Qatar has not slackened providing support to the relevant international institutions and standing beside the countries affected by the pandemic. Qatar has continued to provide medical supplies and cater for other needs related to tackling the pandemic through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) and providing support to the World Health Organisation and the Humanitarian Initiative to provide vaccines for the most vulnerable groups and the countries most in need.
HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, while addressing a Gavi-Covax Summit, co-hosted by Japan and the Gavi, virtually in June this year, had explained that since the beginning of the pandemic, Qatar provided aid to over 80 severely impacted countries. She recalled that at the June 2020 Global Vaccine Summit held in London, His Highness the Amir announced Qatar’s contribution of $20mn to the Gavi. It is not surprising that Qatar ranks among the top 10 countries in the world, compared to its population, with regard to Covid-19 vaccination. Qatar is also among the countries with the lowest death rates due to the quality and excellence of the healthcare system in the country.
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