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Boris Johnson to make veiled pop at China’s handling of Covid in UN speech

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BORIS Johnson will take a veiled pop at China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic at a keynote speech to the UN.

The PM will say that after covid “the very notion of the international community looks tattered” as he pledges an extra £340 million to the World Health Organisation.

The cash will help reform the body, and investigate the origins of the covid pandemic, which China has been accused of covering up.

But he will also call for unity to tackle the pandemic after US president Donald Trump threatened to cut funding to the UN’s health body earlier in the summer.

Boris also plans to develop an international five point plan to combat future outbreaks – including a crack global team spotting potential viruses in animals before they make the leap to humans.

He hopes to implement the plan when the UK takes presidency of the G7 group of nations next year.

And he will also hand out another £500 million to deliver covid vaccines to the poorest nations.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly via Zoom from Downing Street, Boris will say: “After nine months of fighting Covid, the very notion of the international community looks tattered.

“We know that we cannot continue in this way. Unless we unite and turn our fire against our common foe, we know that everyone will lose.

“Now is the time therefore – here at what I devoutly hope will be the first and last ever Zoom UNGA – for humanity to reach across borders and repair these ugly rifts.

“Here in the UK, the birthplace of Edward Jenner who pioneered the world’s first vaccine, we are determined to do everything in our power to work with our friends across the UN to heal those divisions and to heal the world.”

His pandemic plan, developed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust, starts with a proposal to develop a worldwide network of ‘zoonotic hubs’ to identify dangerous pathogens before they leap from animals to humans.

He will also announce the UK will contribute an initial £71 million to secure 27 million vaccine doses for Brits.

The funding for the WHO is an increase of 30 per cent from the previous four-year period, making Britain one of the largest donors, behind the US and the Gates foundation.

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