“If we don’t all go out, no one goes out”: Ecuador’s foreign minister on covid-19

For the head of Ecuadorian diplomacy, the covid-19 is the “greatest contemporary international crisis.”

By:
EFE

11:01 AM / 20/09/2020

“If we don’t all go out, no one comes out,” said the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Luis Gallegos, about the coronavirus pandemic when speaking of the importance of solidarity and cooperation, aspects that his nation will insist on during the General Assembly of Nations United this week.

For the head of Ecuadorian diplomacy, the covid-19 is the “greatest contemporary international crisis”, with impacts of “dimensions not conceivable until a few months ago” in various aspects, including health and economic.

The effects of the pandemic will mean “a setback in development, an increase in poverty” that has a social effect of “also unpredictable dimensions,” said the Foreign Minister in an interview with Efe.

With extensive multilateral experience, having been -among others- three times Ecuador’s ambassador to the UN in New York and three times in Geneva, Gallegos believes that the great challenge at the United Nations meeting is to strengthen solidarity to face the health crisis.

“We need palliative drugs in dimensions that can be sold to us at reasonable prices, because in many cases, what happened in March, April and May is that the economies that had them closed their doors of access to the others, and we do not want this what happens with vaccines, “he said.

In addition – he commented – “our countries have learned hard that it is necessary to make our own masks, clothing and medicines and we must move towards that, because we cannot depend on the capabilities of others.”

Universal vaccine

“Ecuador maintains a very clear position that the vaccine is a universal good,” he told Efe, pointing out that it should be accessible to all countries because “if we don’t all go out, no one comes out.”

The head of Ecuadorian diplomacy invited geopolitical rivalries to be put aside, since there are countries “that spend in a year maintaining nuclear forces, which is equivalent to thirty years of the budget of the World Health Organization (WHO)” .

Gallegos stressed that the “real danger” at this time is the pandemic and its consequences, so in his speech at the UN General Assembly, the Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno, will emphasize the need for a strengthened multilateralism where there is solidarity and cooperation “at all levels”.

He considered that the United Nations should listen to the voices of governments, civil society, technicians and specialists “to find a common course on this issue” for which, in his opinion, there is a lack of “the need for the political will of many and a comprehensive restructuring “.

And it is that responding to the number of members of the UN, Gallegos believes that the number of members of the Security Council should be expanded with a representation of “at least” four or five Latin Americans, and the same number of Africans and Asians.

“The Council – he argued – responds to an archaic structure because it does not take into account that there are new security problems, such as covid”, a virus that is a “threat of life and death.”

The greatest contemporary challenge

The minister fears that the pandemic will not be overcome “without millions of dead people” and millions affected by what covid-19 “is the greatest challenge in contemporary history for humanity.”

The WHO on Friday urged countries not to lower their arms and maintain efforts in the fight against the pandemic, which has already exceeded 30 million cases in the world.

The rate at which infections have increased in recent weeks shows some stability, but not a visible downward trend, with between 1.8 and 2 million cases being added to the statistics each week.

Deaths, which exceed 948,000, increase between 40,000 and 50,000 a week.

The director of the WHO Health Emergencies Department, Mike Ryan, explained that although the global case curve has flattened, this hides large differences between regions and countries, since there are some where cases have increased strongly lately, such as in India , Argentina, Spain, France or Israel.

“If it is as they tell us, that the vaccine is going to solve the problem, to vaccinate everyone, will we have a year, two years?”, He asked himself when noting what to discover, test the efficiency of the vaccine and “produce one or two doses for seven and a half billion human beings, it is a great challenge. ”

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