Tackling Covid-19 over the long term

Think tank: Institute for Government

Author(s): Tom Sasse

July 26, 2021

This report from UK think tank the Institute for Government looks at how to strengthen international efforts to end the pandemic.

A weak and fragmented global response risks extending and worsening the Covid-19 pandemic. This report brings together recommendations from a series of roundtables and events attended by leading international scientists, former government ministers and senior officials from the civil service and leading international organisations. It explains how the best-case scenario sees the virus brought under control through vaccination – but that the worst case sees dangerous new variants fuelling deadly outbreaks and further lockdowns. Countries in Africa and South America are already experiencing their worst Covid surge to date, risking repeated India-style outbreaks in countries unable to manage them. With approaching half a million new cases being recorded per day globally – a figure that is rising – it is likely that further dangerous variants will emerge which “chip away” at vaccine effectiveness. Most low- and middle-income countries are sequencing a tiny proportion of cases, leaving the world “flying blind” and slow to respond to new threats. The G7 was a wasted opportunity to mark a turning point in the global response to Covid – and the report warns against wealthy and highly vaccinated countries seeing the crisis as nearly over. In the run-up to the G20 meeting in October, the report calls on policy makers to respond to the challenge with much stronger commitment to vaccinations, surveillance and wider healthcare capacity. These investments would not only help end the pandemic, but equip the world to face future threats.