Documents to download

Since its emergence in Asia late last year, Covid-19 has spread to every continent except Antarctica. As at 14 May 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported the following figures for the current pandemic:

  • Confirmed cases: 4,218,212.
  • Confirmed deaths: 290,242.
  • Countries, areas or territories with cases: 216.

The UK had the fourth-highest number of confirmed cases worldwide (with 226,467), behind the United States (1,340,098); the Russian Federation (242,271) and Spain (228,030).

On 30 January 2020, the WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared the pandemic a “public health emergency of international concern”. On 5 February, the WHO announced that $675 million was needed for a new Covid-19 preparedness and response global plan, covering the period until April. The plan has since been updated. The latest version provides guidance on how national and subnational public health systems should respond to Covid-19. The UN has since launched a coordinated appeal for a multibillion-dollar emergency relief package for low and middle-income countries. In addition, a range of international bodies and coalitions are working on responses to the impact of Covid-19 in various areas, from health equipment and vaccine research to development aid and wider economic support.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “it’s humanity against the virus—we are in this together, and together we will prevail”. The UK Government has stated that it has a four-point plan in respect of international action on Covid-19: “1) co-ordinating the global health response; 2) accelerating the search for a vaccine, treatments and testing; 3) securing a sound economic response; and 4) bringing our people home”. Following on from earlier international coordination, the UK co-hosted a global response pledging conference on 4 May and will host a global vaccine summit on 4 June. However, on 6 May, former prime minister Theresa May wrote in the Times (£) that the world had shown an “inability to forge a coherent international response” to Covid-19 to date.

On 18 May 2020, the House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Baroness Sugg (Conservative) that “the virtual proceedings do consider the international response to Covid-19”.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • National Insurance Contributions Bill

    The bill would introduce national insurance relief schemes for employers based in freeport tax sites, as well as for employers of ex-service personnel. The bill also makes other provisions around national insurance. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do and what happened during its passage through the House of Commons.

    National Insurance Contributions Bill
  • Social care funding: a rise in national insurance

    On 7 September 2021, the Government announced plans to increase the funding of health and social care through a new tax: the health and social care levy. The levy will be based on a rise in national insurance and will raise £12 billion a year on average over the next three years. Many commentators have raised concerns that this approach is unfair on younger people and low earners.

    Social care funding: a rise in national insurance