G20 leaders urged to approve $8B in funding for coronavirus vaccine

The goal is to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic

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The G20 is being urged to push through emergency funding for a coronavirus vaccine.

More than 160 current and former global leaders and other VIPs are urging the 20 major industrialized nations to approve $8 billion in emergency global health funding to hasten the search for a vaccine, cure and treatment.

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The goal is to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter to governments of the Group of 20 nations released Monday night, the leaders, ministers, top executives and scientists also called for $35 billion to support countries with weaker health systems and especially vulnerable populations, and at least $150 billion for developing countries to fight the medical and economic crisis.

They also urged the international community to waive this year’s debt repayments from poorer countries.

The group called for a global pledging conference, coordinated by a G20 task force, to commit resources to meet the emergency needs to tackle COVID-19.

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The 165 signatories included former U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, 92 former presidents and prime ministers, the current prime ministers of Ethiopia and Bangladesh, Sierra Leone’s president, philanthropist George Soros, former Irish president Mary Robinson who chairs The Elders, and Graca Machel, the group’s deputy chair.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.