WASHINGTON- A second Global COVID-19 Summit will be held virtually next month for countries to discuss efforts to end the pandemic and prepare for future health threats, according to a joint statement on Monday.
"The emergence and spread of new variants, like Omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling COVID-19 worldwide," the White House said in a news release with the Group of Seven and Group of 20 nations.
The announcement comes amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in parts of the United States and around the world prompted by easily transmissible variants of the virus.
China's most populous city, Shanghai, is trying to return to normal after a nearly three-week shutdown, which, along with wider China curbs, are taking a toll on the world's No. 2 economy.
The summit will build on efforts and commitments made at the first global summit in September, including getting more people vaccinated, sending tests and treatments to highest-risk populations, expanding protections to health care workers and generating financing for pandemic preparedness, the statement said.
"We know we must prepare now to build, sustain, and finance the global capacity we need, not only for emerging COVID-19 variants, but also future health crises," it said.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Alison Williams)