At a virtual forum, WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stressed the need to reduce those limitations to move goods, medical supplies and vaccines faster.
Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that when the pandemic first broke out, in 2020, commercial bans amounted to 109, later they dropped to 51, but have risen to 53 since then. The difference is that the world health situation worsened.
She also ordered the member states to reach a consensus in July on the improvement of access to Covid-19 vaccines, after months of talks about the waiver of pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property rights.
Most developing countries support the waiver, she said, but some rich nations strongly oppose it with the justification that this measure will deter research.
‘It is going to be tough because there are still differences, but we hope we can get to a pragmatic approach,’ she asserted. ‘I’m in a hurry and I want us to get some agreement by July because lives are important,’ she said.