South African President calls for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, lauds collective response of BRICS countries against pandemic

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South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the BRICS summit.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the BRICS summit.

New Delhi [India], September 9 (ANI): South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said that BRICS nations' collective response to COVID-19 has demonstrated what can be achieved when partner countries work together.

Speaking at the 13th BRICS Summit, Ramaphosa called for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines to overcome the impact of the pandemic.

"We must ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. This is the only way in which we can respond to this pandemic that engulfs the world," he said.

"Our collective response to COVID-19 has demonstrated what can be achieved when we work together. As BRICS countries we must continue to safeguard our people's lives, livelihoods, support global economic recovery and enhance the resilience of public systems," he added.

"We also support the proposal made by India and South Africa at the WTO for the waiver of the TRIPS mechanism to ensure a rapid expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine production around the world," Ramaphosa added.

He also welcomed the decision of the Health Ministers of BRICS nations to operationalise the vaccine development and research centre.

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit is being chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a virtual format. The theme for the Summit is 'BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus'.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the BRICS has witnessed several achievements in the past one-and-a-half decades and is an influential voice for emerging economies of the world. The Prime Minister said the BRICS platform has been useful for focussing attention on the priorities of the developing countries.

PM Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Chinese President Xi Jinping posed for a group photo during the summit held in virtual format. (ANI)

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