UK PM, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince discuss global access to coronavirus vaccines

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the importance of ensuring global access to coronavirus vaccines in a phone call on Tuesday, Downing Street said in a statement.

“They discussed recent positive progress on the vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and the importance of ensuring global access to coronavirus vaccines,” the British statement said.

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“They closed by agreeing to explore new opportunities for cooperation in trade, culture and defense, building on the existing strong partnership between our two countries.”

The PM also congratulated the Crown Prince on the success of the G20 Riyadh Summit.

“He congratulated Saudi Arabia on hosting a successful virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit last weekend, with productive meetings on the global recovery from the pandemic and tackling climate change,” Downing Street said.

The Kingdom had hosted the G20 summit virtually on November 21-22 amid health precautions and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The G20 leaders said in their final communique they will "spare no effort" to ensure the fair distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus worldwide, and to support poor countries whose economies have been hit by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have mobilized resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines."

The COVID-19 virus has infected over 59.5 million people and claimed the lives of more than 1.4 million. And tens of thousands more deaths are feared in the coming months, with the onset of cold weather and the holidays.

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