Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is calling for a more collective and inclusive approach among countries globally to overcome the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly in relation to vaccine access.
Speaking during a Global Tourism Resilience Forum at EXPO2020 Dubai on Thursday (February 17), Mr. Bartlett said countries have generally “not learned to respond together to global actions” citing the pandemic “as a good example of this”.
“Initially, we all came to understand that we have to rely on science to tell us exactly what this phenomenon is. Then we all came to understand that we needed to… get, analyse and use data to guide a set of actions,” he noted.
Mr. Bartlett said out of these actions evolved protocols, and thereafter, vaccines resulting from scientific research.
He pointed out, however, that while vaccine development has been a notable achievement, equitable distribution is yet to materialise.
“So, we have a situation where 10 per cent of the world had 80 per cent of the vaccines, and even today, when several strains have come and gone [with the possibility of] more to come, a sizeable portion of the world is still less than 20 per cent [vaccinated],” the Minister lamented.
Mr. Bartlett maintained that the rate of economic recovery and return to normality are conditional on the level of vaccination and the extent to which COVID-19 protocols have been applied.
“So, where we find that the drive for ‘my recovery’ supersedes the drive for ‘our recovery’, the world has been set back… and that’s the real issue. What we really want to see out of this [effort] is that resilience building for recovery should not be selfishly [undertaken]… because we all will recover if everyone is included in the recovery process,” he emphasised.