G7 health ministers agree pact for pandemic readiness

BERLIN, May 20 (Reuters) - Health ministers from the Group of Seven nations have agreed a pact for pandemic readiness that will focus on collaborative surveillance and a predictable rapid response to be better prepared in the future, they said in a statement on Friday.

The G7 pledged to increase their mandatory contributions to the World Health Organization by 50% by 2030-2031 to strengthen its global leadership role, according to a communique.

“This pandemic will not be the last,” said Karl Lauterbach, health minister of Germany, which currently holds the rotating G7 presidency. “We must take precautions today to avoid being caught off guard again tomorrow.”

The health ministers also pledged to continue to help Ukraine to operate its health system and to rebuild it. (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Paul Carrel)