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Putin snub: Russia’s leader refuses Boris’s vaccine summit invitation

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The news comes a day after Tory MP Tobias Ellwood pointed out China was similarly not involved in the initiative, in a clear indication of the geopolitical forces which continue to shape the global response to the crisis. Mr Putin received an invitation to take part in the summit from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, the Kremlin confirmed.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today said Mr Putin would not be partipating.

Russia now has more cases of COVID-19 – 431,715 – than anywhere else in the world apart from the USA and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Ellwood, Tory MP for Bournemouth East, voiced concern about China using the development of a vaccine to exert leverage on the world stage, particularly over developing countries.

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He told any vaccine developed by China would come with “strings attached”, with Beijing seeking to “capitalise on the crisis”.

With reference to tomorrow’s event, he added: “It’s interesting because Britain is actually hosting a major event tomorrow on vaccine collaboration and China is not participating.

“This is affecting everybody across the world, it is an adversary we are all up against, and the world should be coming together.

“Instead what we are actually seeing, which is very dangerous indeed, is a worrying indication of just how fragile our world actually is.”

The Global Vaccine Summit 2020 is designed to mobilise resources needed to ensure universal availability of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

“A statement carried on the UK Government’s website said: “The summit aims to raise at least US$7.4 billion to help Gavi protect a further 300 million more children against infectious diseases like measles, typhoid and polio and save up to 8 million lives over the next five years.

“As hosts, the UK is continuing its global leadership on tackling preventable deaths and stopping the spread of coronavirus.”

“The UK is proud to be Gavi’s leading donor. In April 2020, the International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of £330 million a year over the next five years from the UK aid budget to protect 75 million children from preventable diseases.

“We are now calling on other governments to step up, follow our lead and make commitments to fully fund Gavi’s vital mission for the

Speaking last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed.

“The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavor of our lifetimes.”

The USA are not taking part in the event either.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has vowed that the US military and other parts of the government would, in collaboration with the private sector, produce a vaccine at scale to treat the American people and partners abroad by year-end.

Speaking today, Colonel Wendy Sammons-Jackson, director of the U.S. Military Infectious Disease Research Program, told a Pentagon news briefing it was “reasonable to expect that there will be some form of a vaccine that could be available at some level, to a certain population, by the end of the year.”

Another Army researcher, Dr Kayvon Modjarrad, said researchers were learning about the new virus “faster than we have about any other virus before.”

He added: “So, going to a vaccine in a matter of months, from concept all the way to Phase 3 clinical trials and potentially licensure is unprecedented.

“But in this case I think very much is possible.”

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