G7: Boris Johnson admits leaders must learn from 'wretched pandemic'

11 June 2021, 15:00 | Updated: 11 June 2021, 16:20

The G7 leaders were photographed in Cornwall
The G7 leaders were photographed in Cornwall. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

The G7 leaders have been photographed together as talks about a number of issues including Covid and climate change get under way.

The leaders have gathered in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, for the annual summit to discuss the social, political and economic issues of the day.

Coronavirus is expected to feature heavily on the agenda.

The leaders are expected to announce a pledge to donate one billion Covid vaccines globally.

There are also likely to be discussions about how the nations can 'bounce back' after the pandemic, which has seen the economies of many nations battered by months of lockdown.

The G7 summit is usually an annual event, with a rotating presidency deciding who hosts and has more control over the agenda.

This will be the 47th summit, after last year's was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Boris Johnson said the leaders of the G7 would learn from the lessons of the "wretched pandemic".

Opening the summit, he said: "We need to make sure that we learn the lessons from the pandemic, we need to make sure that we don't repeat some of the errors that we doubtless made in the course of the last 18 months or so."

Boris Johnson met US President Joe Biden ahead of the summit to discuss a number of issues, including transatlantic trade and the impact of post-Brexit arrangements on peace in Northern Ireland.

The pair were pictured with their wives, Dr Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson, walking together and admiring the seafront view in Carbis Bay.

Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Dr Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson were photographed together on Thursday
Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Dr Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson were photographed together on Thursday. Picture: PA

Mr Biden said today it was time to "get to work", and that he was "looking forward to reinforcing our commitment to multilateralism and working with our allies and partners to build a more fair and inclusive global economy".

Mr Johnson also held talks with his Japanese, Canadian and Italian counterparts ahead of the summit, discussing topics including the Tokyo Olympics, foreign policy, Covid-19 vaccination programmes and climate change.

Boris Johnson held talks with a number of leaders ahead of the summit, including US President Joe Biden
Boris Johnson held talks with a number of leaders ahead of the summit, including US President Joe Biden. Picture: PA

The event is the first G7 summit held since before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Measures, such as regular Covid testing, are in place to ensure that the event is as Covid-secure as possible.

However, concerns were raised over large gatherings of unvaccinated police officers, with Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter telling the Home Secretary officers felt “betrayed” at the government's decision not to prioritise them for jabs.

It was also announced on Thursday that a Cornwall hotel was shut following an outbreak of Covid-19, before the event had even got started.

The Pedn-Olva hotel is about a mile down the road from the summit, and was housing journalists and security staff for the event.

There is a heavy police presence in Carbis Bay, which has led to concerns about unvaccinated police officers
There is a heavy police presence in Carbis Bay, which has led to concerns about unvaccinated police officers. Picture: PA

The G7 summit is already seeing an action-packed first day.

As the leaders gather, US First Lady Dr Jill Biden and Kate Middleton have toured a school in Hayle to highlight the issue of early years development of children.

In St Ives, around 500 Extinction Rebellion protestors have gathered, with members saying they were there to represent the threat to seas and wildlife if more decisive action is not taken to combat climate change.

Flags read "G7 drowning in promises" and "Action not words", and protestors accompanied by police made their way through St Ives chanting "act now" and "sound the alarm".