UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a COVID-19 survivor, opened a virtual global conference on coronavirus on Monday by calling on all countries to step up their efforts and work together on fighting the virus pandemic, the "most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes".

The Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference was co-hosted by the UK and eight other countries and organisations including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the European Commission.

At the conference, Johnson confirmed the UK's pledge of 388 million pounds aid funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments - part of a larger 744 million pounds existing UK aid commitment to help end the pandemic and support the global economy. This includes 250 million pounds for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to develop vaccines against coronavirus - the biggest such donation to the fund by any country.

"To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people, and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine," said 55-year-old Johnson, who returned to work at 10 Downing Street after his recovery last week.

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