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The world must prepare for the next pandemic – WHO Chief

United Nations, Dec 27 (Prensa Latina) The UN Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres on Wednesday said the world must be ready for the next pandemic, and also act on the basis of lessons learned from Covid-19.

In his message on the occasion of the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on Wednesday, Guterres said that when the next pandemic arrives, we must do better. But we are not yet ready.

He called for no more hoarding of vaccines, tests and treatments by some countries.

“We must renounce the moral and medical disaster of rich countries hoarding and controlling pandemic healthcare supplies, and ensure everyone has access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines,” he stressed, adding that WHO’s authority and financing must also be strengthened.

He stressed that although Covid-19 was declared a public health emergency last May, it does not mean that the disease is no longer a global threat.

The pandemic affected hundreds of millions of people, caused millions of deaths and inflicted devastating impacts on humanity, he noted.

“Economic damage inflicted by the pandemic endures. Many healthcare systems are struggling. Millions of children are threatened by disease after missing out on routine childhood vaccinations,” said Mr. Guterres.

He said the way forward lies through global cooperation. The world must improve surveillance of viruses, strengthen health systems, and make the promise of Universal Health Coverage a reality.

The Secretary-General said these efforts are making progress. He recalled that the High-level meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, held in September, concluded with a robust political declaration which complements negotiations underway towards a pandemic accord.

This first-ever global agreement aims to enhance collaboration, cooperation, and equity in responding to pandemics of the future, WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his end-of-year message published on Tuesday.

The pandemic accord will help to create a safer and healthier world with a universal system of response to disease eruptions, he added.

“Together, let’s act on the lessons of Covid-19, prepare, and build a fairer, healthier world for all,” he said.