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Intervention by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung at G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting Session 3

Defining common global strategies to support the equitable access to disease control tools (vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics – VTDs), including a continuous investment in health promotion and disease prevention to achieve universal health coverage

1. Thank you. I will make two short points. 

2. First, to ensure equitable access to VTDs, global supply chains have to work. 

a) It starts with the global community keeping trade barriers low, ensuring the free-flow of raw materials and finished products.  
b) I hope all countries refrain to the maximum extent, the imposition of export controls of essential medical items and vaccines.  

3. Another aspect is that the key nodes of global distribution must stay open.  

a) So for example, Singapore’s airport and seaport are both key nodes in the global supply chain and any disruption will be felt globally. 
b) Seaports, especially, will need to facilitate crew change, otherwise sea crew are stuck on their ship. The global supply chain will be affected.  
c) Changi airport in Singapore has now also become a regional distribution hub for vaccines, using our ultra-cold chain ability.

4. Second point that I want to raise, that is not quite related to VTDs, but may be worth talking about, is that we should also guard against the disruption of people to people connections around the world.

a) Because this will undo decades of progress to build collaboration and mutual dependence between countries and regions for a safer and more prosperous world.  
b) So as global travel resumes, having a passport is no longer sufficient to travel and enter a country, one may also require to have the right vaccine.  
c) We hope that G20 can take the lead to ensure that the world will not disintegrate into regions which cannot recognise each other’s vaccines.  

5. Ultimately, we must recognise a vaccine based on science, its efficacy against infection, and development of severe illnesses. 
a) The WHO can play a significant facilitative role.

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