New Delhi/Davos: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday said joint efforts are the only way to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and called for fair distribution of vaccines and expedited inoculation drive globally.

He also said that holding each other back or shifting blame would only lead to a needless delay in the response and also distract us from the main objective.

In a special address on ‘state of the world’ on the first day of the week-long online Davos Agenda summit of the World Economic Forum, he said that humanity will certainly move on but the world needs to jointly defeat the pandemic.

“A giant ship is brave enough to brave the storm. Pandemic is proving to be a protracted one. It impacts health and the economy. Holding each other back and shifting blames, will only shift our objectives,” he said.

Favouring further opening up of the world economy and greater cooperation, he said, “We should remove barriers and not erect walls. We should open up and integrate further.”

Jinping warned of serious negative spillovers if major economies slam on the breaks or make U-turns on their monetary policies.

He also said the world needs to discard the cold war mentality and that confrontation will lead to disastrous consequences. We need to explore new drivers of economic growth to promote steady and robust global economic recovery, he added.

The Chinese president said some developing countries have fallen back into poverty due to the pandemic while some developed countries are also facing hard times.

“Developed nations need responsible economic policies, should control spillover effects of policies to avoid impacting developing countries,” he said while asserting that China will continue to open up and is committed to economic and market reforms.

He also called for global rules on the digital economy and greater information sharing across the world.

“The world is undergoing major changes, unseen in a century and how to beat the pandemic and build a post-COVID world are a common concern for people around the world,” he said while addressing the summit through video conferencing.

The deadly virus, which was first reported in Chinese city Wuhan in late 2019, has so far seen over 32 crore confirmed cases globally with more than 55 lakh deaths.

The international community has fought a tenacious battle against COVID-19 and the concerted efforts of the international community mean major progress has been made in the global fight against the pandemic, Jinping said.

Emphasising the importance of vaccines, he called for ensuring their equitable distribution, accelerating vaccination and closing the global immunisation gap.

The World Health Organization has also been criticising the unequal distribution of vaccines and has been asking manufacturers and other countries to contribute to COVAX, an UN-backed programme for supplying vaccines to poor countries. So far, it has delivered 1 billion doses.

According to WHO, 36 of its 194 member countries have vaccinated less than 10 per cent of population and 88 have inoculated under 40 per cent.

According to the latest Chinese government data, China’s economy grew by 8.1 per cent in 2021, exceeding its own target of 6 per cent, despite challenges, including epidemic resurgences and a complicated external environment.

The Chinese economy, which was the first to be hit by a coronavirus and early to recover from the pandemic had grown by 2.3 per cent in 2020, the lowest annual growth rate in 45 years.

In his address at the WEF event, Jinping said China will provide another one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to African countries and 150 million doses to ASEAN countries.

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