Any vaccine against coronavirus should be the common property of all of humanity, Turkey’s president told a video conference of world leaders on Monday to raise €7.5 billion ($8.2 billion) to help develop a vaccine and treatment.
"A COVID-19 vaccine must be the shared property of all mankind," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a recorded message streamed for the online Coronavirus Global Response Summit hosted by the EU.
"It is critical that global access to the vaccine to be produced is guaranteed and the principle of 'leaving no one behind' is implemented diligently," he said.
Erdogan also offered condolences for those who claimed by the pandemic and wished a speedy recovery to those undergoing treatment.
On Turkey's financial pledge to global efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, he said: "We will announce the amount we will determine following assessments by May 23."
He also stressed that the coronavirus pandemic had ceased to be a mere health crisis and had turned into a unique test for the world with political, economic and social dimensions.
‘Different faiths, shared fate’
"The pandemic has reminded us of the fact that our fate is common even though our faiths are different," he said.
The president also said Turkey has so far delivered medical aid to 57 nations around the globe to support their fight against the virus.
Erdogan stressed Turkey continues to be a "reliable partner" in critical medical supplies needed for this battle, ranging from masks to ventilators.
"We also share our country's experiences in the fight against the virus with our friends," he said, adding that besides Turkey's national initiatives, the country also supports global efforts for developing diagnoses, treatments, and vaccines.
On efforts within Turkey, Erdogan said that the investments the government has made so far in city hospitals have given it significant advantages in the fight against the pandemic.
"Although we already have a robust healthcare system and strong investments in infrastructure, we have begun the construction of new full-fledged pandemic hospitals with a capacity of 2,100 beds at three different locations in Istanbul. We will complete the construction of these hospitals and put them into service in three weeks’ time."
He underlined that a vaccine appears to be "the most effective instrument" for beating the virus.
Citing a March G20 statement under which Turkey agreed to help fund the rapid development of a vaccine, Erdogan said the pledge drive will pave the way to achieve this target without bureaucracy getting in the way.
After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.
The pandemic has killed over 248,000 worldwide, with total infections more than 3.53 million and recoveries surpassing 1.13 million people, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
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