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S. Korea-led U.N. group discusses pandemic responses with disease monitoring board

All News 11:34 December 16, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean-led group of U.N. member countries held a videoconference with an international disease monitoring board to discuss policy directions for effective coronavirus responses, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The U.N. Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security was launched in May under Seoul's initiative with a view to bring up a U.N.-level response to the coronavirus pandemic and other global health problems. It has 44 countries and the European Union as members.

The videoconference was held Tuesday (New York time) with leading pandemic experts belonging to the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent body consisting of former and sitting health and government officials and working with the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

In Tuesday's meeting, the participants agreed that responses based on principles of multilateralism, such as partnering with international financial institutions and continued investment in domestic as well as global health care systems, are key to fighting diseases and preparing for any future health crisis.

They also noted that countries should keep in mind that an infectious disease does not only put people's health at risk but could cause massive social and economic damage, calling for efforts to enhance cooperation in areas like vaccine development so as to minimize the repercussions.

In the closing remarks, South Korea's Ambassador to the U.N. Cho Hyun stressed the importance for countries to work together to secure COVID-19 vaccines, adding that the Friends Group will make every effort to function as a leading platform for tackling COVID-19 and other diseases, the ministry said.

South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Cho Hyun speaks during a virtual conference with experts from the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board in New York, on Dec. 15, 2020 (U.S. time), in this photo provided by Seoul's foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo, provided by Seoul's foreign ministry on Dec. 16, 2020, shows the participants of a meeting hosted by the U.N. Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security that took place the previous day. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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