Dear friends of Diplomatia,
It is my real pleasure to join your initiative and to seize the occasion to share Saudi Arabia’s experience in tackling the Covid-19 crisis.
First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to all the friendly Italian People and, in particular, to the health workers and the Italian Civil Protection personnel, who carried on their professional mission in the frontline with proud and heroism in support of us all. Italy has shown great strength and determination in responding to the unforeseen outbreak of Covid-19.
This global pandemic strongly reminds us that our safety depends on the safety of all the people around the world. No country and no organization can overcome this crisis alone. Global cooperation is crucial to accelerate the development and production of new vaccines, tests and treatments for Covid-19 and assure equitable access worldwide, especially for the vulnerable segments of the population.
This is why, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as holder of the G20 2020 presidency, is committed to steer the G20 collective efforts toward a unified global response to the coronavirus and is supporting the race for a vaccine and other therapeutic measures to be equally distributed.
The Extraordinary G20 Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19, convened by the Saudi Presidency last March, has paved the way to the collective endeavor of the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference, held on May 4th. The event, co-chaired by Saudi Arabia along with the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Norway, raised funds for the immediate need of 7,5 billion Euros, which were urgently required to develop and deliver a Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutic resources. The G20 2020 has also agreed on a time-bound suspension of debt service payments for the poorest countries, where the impact of coronavirus could be devastating. It is a good start, but more must be done if we want to reach everyone, everywhere.
Ensuring health for all is one of the main priorities of Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive approach in the fight against coronavirus. Under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, Saudi Arabia has spared no efforts in providing free assistance, tests and treatments not only to citizens and residents but also to undocumented persons irregularly staying in the country. Mobile clinics, field health teams, drive-through testing, sanitizers distribution points and awareness campaign in 12 languages have been arranged throughout the country to reach all those in need.
Today, as a result of the strict containment measures and the mass testing and treatment, Saudi Arabia, like Italy and many other countries, is relaxing lockdown measures and slowly coming back to a normal life. This trying time certainly left us a lesson: in our interconnected world, there is no other way forward but together. International cooperation and solidarity are the keys to overcome any global challenge. I would like to end by echoing the words of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques “Today, through our cooperation, we are confident that we, together, will overcome this crisis, and move forward towards a future where all people thrive, prosper and are healthy”.