As the Prime Minister worked with global leaders to step up the vaccine programme in the developing world, all the scientific data was suggesting that the Government will now have to pause the easing of restrictions here.
Today’s anticipated announcement will come as a massive disappointment to all those businesses and families who had shared Mr Johnson’s anticipation ahead of Freedom Day on June 21 before those good intentions were placed in jeopardy by the emergence of the new Delta variant that had its origins in India.
Yet, while it will prompt a renewed argument about whether Britain was too slow to shut its borders, the litmus test of the G7 gathering in Cornwall is not the official communique or the new ‘global pandemic radar’.
It is the ability of this alliance of economic superpowers to accelerate the vaccine programme after pledging to donate one billion doses – just a fraction of the 11 billion sought by the World Health Organisation.
However the issue is not as simplistic as the numbers game set out by, amongst others, Gordon Brown. What is needed, just as much as the increased production of jabs, is a logistical infrastructure that enables vaccines to be distributed to the most vulnerable as soon as sufficient supplies become available.
The key to Britain’s rollout success, it now needs to be replicated on a global scale if the G7 is to maximise its influence, counter the likes of China and Russia and neutralise the impact of Covid’s new variants on the global economy. It will also determine whether the G7 and its optics was ultimately a triumph of substance over style – or vice versa.
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