UK PM says cooperation with EU “very important” amid coronavirus vaccine row

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LONDON, March 24 (Xinhua) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that cooperation between Britain and the European Union (EU) is “very important” to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson made the remarks during the Prime Minister’s Questions at the House of Commons, lower part of Parliament, as tension between Britain and EU over vaccines supply remains high.

The prime minister said he doesn’t believe blockades “are sensible”, adding that the long-term damage done by blockades can be “very considerable”.

Anyone considering a blockade may want to think about how companies would view a country where such things are imposed, he said.

Asked if the British government would consider a “careful and proportionate retaliation” if the EU decides to ban the export of vaccines to Britain, Johnson said “we will do everything that is necessary” to make sure that Britons get their vaccines.

On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed tougher controls on coronavirus vaccine exports. According to the plan, any shipment would be assessed on the destination country’s rate of vaccinations and vaccine exports.

The plans stop short of a ban but could still trigger tensions with Britain. The EU has accused British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca of failing to honour its contract to supply vaccines to EU countries.

More than 28.3 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Experts have warned Britain is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants and the risks of the public breaching restriction rules.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem

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