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G7 Statement on the Omicron Variant

Virtual meeting of G7 Health Ministers

The statement issued today (16th December) by the G7 health ministers on the global threat of the new variant of COVID-19 following their meeting:

(16 December) G7 health ministers today held their final meeting of the UK’s G7 Presidency, focusing particularly on the very worrying developments on Omicron.

Deeply concerned by the rise in cases, ministers agreed that these developments should be seen as the biggest current threat to global public health. It is more important than ever to closely cooperate, and monitor as well as share data. This will be key to addressing the fast developing situation.

In light of these extensive challenges, G7 ministers reiterated the commitment to taking forward the pledges in recent G7 and G20 declarations to tackle the ongoing pandemic and build defences for the future. Following information exchange between ministers they agreed that working together was crucial in responding to the rapidly growing Omicron wave. Ministers highlighted the importance of equitable access to diagnostics, genome sequencing, vaccines and therapeutics. They also agreed on the increasing importance of booster campaigns and regular testing alongside continued non-pharmaceutical measures. Ministers reiterated their continuous support for COVAX, their commitment to the global effort on vaccine rollout and their support for accelerated development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics in pandemics.

G7 health ministers also welcomed the close cooperation throughout the UK’s G7 Presidency on clinical trials, global health security, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and digital health. Ministers welcomed the new German health minister and committed to working closely with Germany as they take on the G7 Presidency.

A Department of Health and social care spokesman said:

The Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid today hosted G7 Health Ministers in the final meeting of the UK’s G7 Presidency in which all countries agreed the Omicron variant is the biggest threat to global public health.

Ministers shared their concerns over the rise in Omicron cases around the world and discussed how to combat the new variant, stressing the importance of co-operating closely to monitor the situation, share data and increase vaccinations to provide as much protection as possible.

"The UK had another record day of booster jabs yesterday and over 25 million people across all four nations have bolstered their immunity with a top-up jab as part of the UK’s mission to get boosted now.

"Ministers also joined the Health and Social Care Secretary in congratulating Minister Lauterbach on taking over the G7 Presidency."