Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates

Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that the global air cargo industry will face its largest Covid-19 vaccine transport challenge if governments fail to begin planning now.

An equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747s cargo jets will be required to provide a single dose to 7.8 billion people, according to IATA.

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “Even if we assume that half the needed vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever.

“In planning their vaccine programmes, particularly in the developing world, governments must take very careful consideration of the limited air cargo capacity that is available at the moment.

“If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised.”

Governments are being urged to bolster readiness and immediately start the planning process with industry stakeholders to overcome complex obstacles such as logistics and programmatic.

The careful advance planning is required to take into considerations factors such as facilities, security, border processes and capacity and coordination for quick and efficient transport and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO Seth Berkley said: “Delivering billions of doses of vaccine to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical and programmatic obstacles all the way along the supply chain.

“We look forward to working together with government, vaccine manufacturers and logistical partners to ensure an efficient global roll-out of a safe and affordable Covid-19 vaccine.”