South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has appealed to leaders of the G20 nations to ensure that all countries have access to the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Ramaphosa was speaking at the first session of the virtual G20 summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The President says there appears to be consensus in the G20 that access to an effective COVID-19 vaccine should be universal, fair and equitable.

He also touched on the importance of improving health infrastructure and health systems in Africa.

The two-day summit will focus on international efforts to develop a global response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and help restore global economies.

Meanwhile, China President Xi Jinping has told the G20 summit via video link that China is ready to step up global COVID-19 vaccine co-operation.

Xi has also called for better international coordination on policies to facilitate movement of people during the pandemic.

Pharmaceutical companies and research centres around the world are working on potential COVID-19 vaccines, with large global trials of several of the candidates involving tens of thousands of participants.

China has five home-grown candidates undergoing phase three trials.

President Ramaphosa addresses the G20 Leaders’ Summit: