The White House has announced the United States will co-host the second global COVID-19 summit virtually on May 12 to discuss increasing efforts to end the pandemic internationally and prepare for future variants of the coronavirus.
“The emergence and spread of new variants, like omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling COVID-19 worldwide,” the White House said in a joint news release.
The U.S. will host the summit with Belize, chair of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, Germany, the current president of the Group of Seven leading economies, or G-7; Indonesia, which currently holds the presidency of the Group of 20 largest economies, or G-20; and Senegal as African Union chair.
The news comes amid concerns regarding a resurgence of the pandemic after recent COVID-19 restrictions in China, and the rise of a new BA.2 variant of the coronavirus in the U.S., where Philadelphia has reinforced an indoor mask mandate, making it the first big American city to do so.
“The Summit will redouble our collective efforts to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future health threats,” the five countries said in the statement.
They emphasized supporting locally-led solutions that include “getting shots into arms; deploying tests and treatments, especially for the highest-risk populations; and expanding and protecting the health workforce.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, who called for international cooperation to end the pandemic, convened the first global COVID-19 summit last September. The delta and omicron variants of the coronavirus spread soon after.
“We know we must prepare now to build, sustain, and finance the global capacity we need, not only for emerging COVID-19 variants, but also future health crises,” the joint statement said.
The summit is calling on world leaders, philanthropists, NGOs, and the private sector to support their mission to increase the vaccination rate internationally and sustain health security.