Matt Hancock appointed UN special envoy to help recover from Covid in Africa

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Matt Hancock announced that he had been appointed Special Representative to the United Nations. The former health secretary will focus on helping African countries recover from Covid-19.

Hancock said he was “honored” to be given the role, adding on Twitter: “I will work with the UN, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to help Africa’s economic recovery after pandemic and promote sustainable development. “

It comes four months after he resigned his Cabinet post for breaking social distancing rules by kissing and kissing an assistant in his office.

According to the UN, African countries risk paying more than £ 300 billion to recover from the pandemic.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Vera Songwe said Hancock’s “success” in managing the UK pandemic response was a testament to the strengths he would bring to this role.

In a letter posted by Hancock on Twitter, Songwe said: “The acceleration of vaccines that has led the UK to accelerate economic recovery is a testament to the strengths you will bring to this role, as well as your fiscal and monetary background. The role will support Africa’s cause globally and ensure that the continent progresses better, leveraging financial innovations and working with key stakeholders like the G20, the UK government and the Cop26.

In his acceptance letter, also posted on Twitter, the Tory MP wrote: “As we recover from the pandemic, therefore, we must use this moment to ensure that Africa can thrive. ”

However, Global Justice Now, which is campaigning for a global rollout of the jab and called for vaccine patent waivers, condemned the nomination. Nick Dearden, its director, said: “Matt Hancock has helped block international efforts to allow low- and middle-income countries to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines, resulting in millions of deaths in the south of the world. The audacity of this man who claims to help African nations and promote sustainable development is disgusting.

Hancock’s appointment, who will not be paid, comes as a damning report by MPs has been released on how mistakes and delays by the UK government and science advisers claimed lives during the pandemic.

The study, by the all-party science and technology committee and the health and social care committee, said the UK’s pandemic preparedness was far too focused on the flu, as ministers waited too long to push through lockdown measures in early 2020. In a high-profile report, MPs said the UK’s planning was too ‘narrowly and inflexibly based on a flu model’ that failed to pull lessons from Sars, Mers and Ebola.

Former Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies told MPs there was’ group thinking ‘, with infectious disease experts not believing that’ Sars, or some other Sars, would happen to us. ‘Asia’.

Hancock resigned his post as health secretary in June after leaked CCTV footage showed him kissing an assistant, in violation of social distancing rules. Speaking at the time, he said: “The last thing I want is my privacy to distract from the purposeful goal that is taking us out of this crisis. “

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