OTTAWA -- Former prime minister Paul Martin says the world will have to come together in order to find a solution to the COVID-19 outbreak -- and that no nation can fix this on their own.

"The solution to this is not going to be found in any one country," Martin told CTV News Channel's Todd van der Heyden on Monday.

He went on to explain that no country can be left out of the solution, as the disease could "rebound" and the global community has "got to make sure that it can't."

In order to achieve this global co-operation, Martin said bodies like the G20 and the World Health Organization will be essential. He pointed to the fact that the G20 has already come together to deliver a wide-ranging plan on what has to be done.

"What they've now got to do is come up with an action plan telling us how in fact they're going to achieve those results," Martin said.

The G20 released a statement following a virtual summit on March 26, where world leaders discussed their plans to combat COVID-19. The statement outlined multiple steps, including commitments to both strengthen the WHO mandate ensure the flow of goods and services across borders.

"We are confident that, working closely together, we will overcome this. We will protect human life, restore global economic stability, and lay out solid foundations for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth," the statement read.

Martin said he expects the action plan detailing the steps in achieving that result will be unveiled over the coming months as the world works together on the issue.


When asked if the world was ready for this pandemic, Martin told van der Heyden that "we weren't."

He said this is why organizations like the WHO are so important.

"We've all got to get behind the world health organization, because they're the ones that are capable of putting together the kind of research and the kind of data -- and it's that data that’s so important -- that will enable us to have as much advance warning when this kind of thing happens," Martin said.

He explained that in the early days of the outbreak there were "signals" coming out of China that should have been heeded.

"If the world had reacted to them, we might have been able to deal with this sooner. But the fact of the matter is, not even China understood what those signals were," Martin said.

He explained that research needs to be conducted on identifying these early signals going forward, adding that this work will have to be financed and worked on by the WHO.

COVID-19 has killed at least 322 people in Canada, with thousands of people infected across the country.