British PM Boris Johnson welcomes “incredibly encouraging” early moves from Biden

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Washington — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned Sunday that early steps taken by President Biden on points like overseas coverage and local weather change are “incredibly encouraging” for relations between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

“There’s been some important developments in the way the U.K., U.S. thinking has been coming together in the last few weeks, and particularly on issues like climate change, on NATO, on Iran, but above all, on the ways that the U.S. and the U.K. are going to work together to deal with the environmental challenge that faces our planet,” Johnson mentioned in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “And there, I think some of the stuff we’re now hearing from the new American administration and from the new White House is incredibly encouraging. And we want to work with the president on that.”

Johnson was among the many first world leaders to increase congratulations to Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris after they had been declared the winners of the November presidential election. The president additionally spoke with Johnson three days after he was inaugurated, with Mr. Biden conveying “his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries and revitalize transatlantic ties,” in accordance with a abstract of the decision from the White House.

Johnson informed “Face the Nation” he’s “delighted” to have an excellent relationship with the White House and mentioned he is had “fantastic conversations” with Mr. Biden. The U.Okay. prime minister additionally mentioned he is “thrilled” Mr. Biden adopted the slogan “Build Back Better,” significantly with regards to addressing the coronavirus pandemic, although Johnson joked he used it first.

“It’s the right slogan,” he mentioned. “We’ve got to learn from this pandemic. We’ve got to learn about how to share information, how to share drugs properly, how to make sure we don’t hoard things like personal protective equipment, as you saw earlier on in the pandemic. We’ve got to make sure that we are distributing vaccines.”

Johnson mentioned he hopes the U.S. and the U.Okay. can work collectively to study from the pandemic and mentioned he helps the Biden administration elevating issues about an investigation mounted by the World Health Organization into the origins of COVID-19. National safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned in an announcement Saturday the White House has “questions about the process used to reach” the probe’s early findings and careworn it is “imperative” for the report back to be unbiased, “with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government.”

“When you have a zoonotic plague like coronavirus, we need to know exactly how it happened. Indeed, if it’s zoonotic, if it really originated from human contact with the animal kingdom, that’s what is asserted. But we need to know exactly what happened. Was it in a wet market? Did it come from the bats? Were the bats associated with the pangolins? All these questions are now matters of speculation,” Johnson mentioned. “We need to see the data. We need to see all the evidence. So I thoroughly support what President Biden has said about that.”

Both the U.S. and the U.Okay. are grappling with new strains of the coronavirus, one in all which was first recognized within the U.Okay., one other in South Africa and a 3rd in Brazil. The U.Okay. variant, B.1.1.7., is believed by public well being officers to be extra transmissible, and the emergence of the brand new strains has raised questions as to how efficient the vaccines developed to guard towards COVID-19 are towards them.

Johnson, nonetheless, mentioned he has “great confidence” within the vaccinations the U.Okay. is utilizing, and so they have “no reason to think that they are ineffective” towards the brand new variants. 

“That’s a very important consideration for us,” he mentioned. “One of the features of Oxford AstraZeneca that has been recently confirmed by the scientists is that it reduces transmission between people as well. There’s a 67% reduction in transmission as a result of the use of these vaccinations.”

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