Nov 13: On November 11, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Russia’s BRICS Sherpa, Sergey Ryabkov, took part in the 10th Meeting of the BRICS Healthcare Ministers via videoconference.
During the meeting, the ministers discussed the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the five countries and possible joint steps to overcome the crisis.
Russia’s initiatives to create a Comprehensive Early Warning System for the Risks of Widespread Infectious Diseases within BRICS and to publish a review of the advanced measures taken by the BRICS countries to counter the spread of coronavirus were considered. An in-depth exchange of views was also held on further expanding interaction between the BRICS countries in the healthcare sector.
Addressing the participants of the event Sergey Ryabkov stated the following:
“The anniversary meeting of BRICS healthcare ministers is taking place at a difficult time. The global coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world has become a test of strength for humanity. This is also a kind of a test for the ability of the international community to appropriately respond to unforeseen risks. A serious burden is carried not only by the healthcare systems of individual states, but by various international institutions like the World Health Organisation as well.
In this regard, the BRICS countries have a special role to play. Over the years of strategic partnership, our five countries have developed strong immunity to various kinds of crises. COVID-19 is no exception. Our alliance has a role to play in combating the coronavirus pandemic and overcoming its complex fallout. The necessary groundwork was already done when back in 2015, in the Ufa Declaration, our leaders gave us the necessary instructions to develop cooperation in healthcare, with a special emphasis on combating infectious diseases.
In this regard, the South African initiative to establish the BRICS Vaccine Development and Research Centre is notable. It was approved during the Johannesburg Summit in July 2018, but has not yet been implemented.
For Russia as chair, public healthcare has special significance. You are aware of our initiative to create a BRICS Integrated Early Warning System for the Risks of Widespread Infectious Diseases. We hope this will be implemented. In addition, the Russian Health Ministry, in a timely manner, has offered to publish an Overview of the best measures taken by the BRICS countries to counter the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I believe this document will be instrumental for further use not only by our five countries but for specialists in other countries as well. Our healthcare ministries have a particular responsibility as the pandemic continues unabated. You are the ones who are expected to come up with decisions and initiatives which will help everyone quickly return to life as it was before the crisis. You are aware of the work carried out by Russian researchers to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus. I will not delve into the matter with this professional audience. I would only like to note the importance of coordination for the five states on the key tracks of anti-pandemic interaction. Hence, the title of your meeting today, “The COVID-19 Era: Global BRICS Solidarity to Preserve Health.”