Former British prime minister Gordon Brown has called on the US and China to “step up to the plate” and pledge to join a multi-billion pound drive to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

The ex-PM has said the two economic giants are facing an “appointment with destiny” as he urged them to become involved in raising an $8bn Covid-19 “fighting fund” to pay for vaccines, treatments and test kits for developing countries.

Mr Brown, who was in Downing St between 2007-2010, insisted there was a “deadly urgency” about nations working together now to stop a second wave of the disease impacting on the world’s poorest countries, and then returning to the rest of the globe.

Mr Brown is calling on US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in an online summit on May 4.

The summit was planned after a letter was signed by 200 economists, health professionals and former presidents and prime ministers, calling for greater global cooperation, Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown stated: “If we are to stop this in its tracks, our interventions will only be as effective as the weakest link in the global chain.

“So, if any issue is a candidate for multilateral global action, then it must be our response to this pandemic.

“The health of each depends on the health of all.

“Local solutions everywhere are only as good as the global response.

“To that end, we must outlaw the ugly ‘vaccine nationalism’ that seems to be setting in.

“Restricting new vaccines to those who can afford them will condemn millions to enduring multiple waves of the illness.”

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