Prayut joins calls for pandemic pact

Prayut joins calls for pandemic pact

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has joined over 20 world leaders in calling for a new treaty to help the world prepare for future pandemics.

He yesterday undersigned an article sent to and published in several media outlets previously signed by France's Emmanuel Macron, Britain's Boris Johnson and Germany's Angela Merkel as well as World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The piece calls for greater international co-operation and says countries should avoid isolationism and nationalism.

The article said that world leaders who undersigned it are "committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicine and diagnostics for this and future pandemics. Immunisation is a global public good and we will need to be able to develop, manufacture and deploy vaccines as quickly as possible".

"The main goal of this treaty would be to foster an all-of-government and all-of-society approach, strengthening national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics. This includes greatly enhancing international cooperation to improve, for example, alert systems, data-sharing, research, and local, regional and global production and distribution of medical and public health counter measures, such as vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment," it said.

Meanwhile in Thailand, the second batch of 800,000 doses manufactured by China's Sinovac has been approved by the Public Health Ministry's Department of Medical Sciences and is ready for distribution. Dr Supakij Sirilak, the department's director-general, said the second lot of Sinovac's CoronaVac vaccine has cleared the inspection process which looked into the vaccine's quality, manufacturing and delivery protocols, among other criteria. The batch arrived in Thailand on March 20.

"The department today [March 30] has issued certificates for the second batch totalling 800,000 doses which can now be distributed to the public," he said.

The government plans to distribute 800,000 doses of Sinovac's vaccine in 22 provinces across the country next month. The first group includes Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Tak, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi, while the second and third include tourist and border provinces.

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