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Boris Johnson has pledged Britain’s support for a new global surveillance network to spot emerging diseases before they can cause fresh pandemics.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is leading work to develop the “global pandemic radar” to monitor and track new infections and variants.

The UK and the British-based Wellcome Trust are among the nations and other organisations supporting the initiative.

Speaking ahead of a global health summit hosted by Italy and the EU on Friday, Mr Johnson said ensuring the world was better prepared for future health threats was an “absolute priority” for the UK’s G7 presidency, stating:

The world must never be caught unawares again by a virus spreading among us unchecked.

We need to build a system of disease surveillance fit for the 21st century, with real-time data-sharing and rapid genomic sequencing and response.

A global pandemic radar will ensure that we are vigilant to new variants and emerging pathogens, and can rapidly develop the vaccines and treatments needed to stop them in their tracks.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for more today.

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