With shared knowledge vital, Chinese minister calls for efforts to fight virus
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed "systemic weaknesses" in global health systems, health ministers from the Group of 20 major economies have said in a joint statement.
The statement came after G20 health ministers on Sunday night held a virtual meeting, which was hosted by the group's current president Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi G20 secretariat said that the ministers discussed weaknesses in health systems that made the world vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak and other pandemics. They also shared their national experiences, addressed actions to improve preparedness and discussed systemic weaknesses exposed by the pandemic.
"Health ministers recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted systemic weaknesses in health systems," the statement said. "It also has shown vulnerabilities in the global community's ability to prevent and respond to pandemic threats.
"Ministers addressed the need to improve the effectiveness of global health systems by sharing knowledge and closing the gap in response capabilities and readiness."
The statement said the ministers adopted preventive measures to contain the pandemic, but did not elaborate.
In opening remarks to media, Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said urgent actions included the need for collaboration and the engagement of global organizations for coordinated responses to the pandemic, with an emphasis on supporting countries in need, and investing in research and discovery to produce technology, tools, vaccines and therapies.
He also referred to the creation of a global task force to respond to pandemics, an innovation hub for knowledge sharing to improve value in health and a patient safety leaders group to provide shared platforms aimed at reducing patient safety risks.
Ma Xiaowei, China's minister in charge of the National Health Commission, called at the virtual meeting for international cooperation to carry out joint prevention and control efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
Ma said China is willing to implement the consensus reached at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on COVID-19, and called on all parties to continue supporting the World Health Organization's leading role in coordinating international cooperation against the pandemic.
Ma said that after three months of hard work, domestic transmission in China has basically been curbed and more people are getting back to normal life and work.
"We have been continuously improving our prevention, control and treatment work and sharing our experience with the world," he said.
Ma said the Chinese government is providing material supplies to 127 countries and four international organizations and has sent expert teams to 15 countries.
About 40 people, including the health ministers from G20 members and guest countries attended Sunday's meeting, as well as leaders international organizations.
Leaders from Spain, Singapore, Jordan and Switzerland were also invited to the meeting.