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Theresa May slams ‘incoherent’ global response to coronavirus pandemic

Theresa May slams ‘incoherent’ global response to coronavirus pandemic

Theresa May has criticised the response of world leaders

3 min read

Theresa May has criticised the world's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tory former prime minister hit out at world leaders for "failing to forge a coherent international respose" to the pandemic as she claimed the virus had prompted a shift towards "nationalism and absolutism".

It comes as new figures showed the UK's death toll had become the worst in Europe, with 29,427 fatalities passing Italy's 29,315.

Writing in The Times, the former Prime Minister said a "polarised politics" had taken hold in response to the pandemic,

"The global impact of Covid-19, and our inability to forge a coherent international response to it, have raised new questions about the effectiveness of a system of cooperation through shared institutions," she wrote.

Meanwhile she urged Boris Johnson not to turn away from his "responsibilities on the world stage", saying the UK must "embrace its wider international role beyond the day to day of the pandemic".

She added: "A highly infectious novel virus, life-threatening for many, might seem to be just the sort of thing countries would want to work together on.

"Instead, it has been treated as a national issue for countries to deal with alone. Researchers and scientists may work together across the world but there is little evidence of politicians doing so."

Her intervention comes ahead of a second round of talks between Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer where the pair are expected to discuss the UK's strategy for easing social distancing rules.

Mr Johnson has already announced plans to set out a "road map" for exiting the lockdown during a televised address on Sunday, but warned the country was at the point of "maximum risk" as it looks to restart the economy.

But Mrs May warned the global response risked "exacerbating the shift towards nationalism and absolutism in global politics".

"A world in which a few 'strong men' square up to each other and expect everyone else to choose between them would be a dangerous one," she wrote.

"Governments are faced with an enormous challenge, and it is no surprise that they see as their first job the immediate protection of their own citizens.

"But there remains no collective international view as to what works best in dealing with the virus - nor does there seem to have been any attempt to form one. Instead, states have each gone their own way."

She added: "Lost is the idea that countries do better by working together to solve common problems, even if doing so sometimes means an apparent sacrifice of short-term benefit for the greater good.

"In its place is a cynical calculus: 'I’m right and you’re either with me or against me.' This is the world that the pandemic hit."

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