Covid-19 Pandemic Could Be Preventable

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Covid: Serious failures in WHO and global response, says an article on BBC.

What WHO says

The panel, set up by the World Health Organization, said the combined response of the WHO and global governments was a “toxic cocktail”.

The WHO should have declared a global emergency earlier than it did, its report said that without urgent change, the world was vulnerable to another major disease outbreak.

More than 3.3 million people around the world have now died of Covid. While the US and Europe are beginning to ease restrictions and resume some aspects of pre-pandemic life, the virus is still devastating parts of Asia.

India in particular is seeing record-breaking numbers of new cases and deaths, with severe oxygen shortages in hospitals across the country. Countries neighboring India, such as Nepal, are also seeing surges of the virus.

What did the report say?

Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic, was compiled by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

It aimed to find answers as to how the virus had killed more than 3.3 million people and infected more than 159 million.

“The situation we find ourselves in today could have been prevented,” co-chair Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia, told reporters. “It is due to a myriad of failures, gaps, and delays in preparedness and response.”

When countries should have been preparing their healthcare systems for an influx of Covid patients, much of the world descended into a “winner takes all” scramble for protective equipment and medicines, the report said.

Key reforms

To prevent another catastrophic pandemic, the report suggests key reforms:

  • A new global threats council should be created with the power to hold countries accountable
  • There should be a disease surveillance system to publish information without the approval of countries concerned
  • Vaccines must be classed as public goods and there should be a pandemic financing facility
  • There was an immediate request for the wealthy G7 nations to commit $1.9bn (£1.3bn) to the WHO’s Covax program providing vaccine support to low-income countries

Panel co-chair and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said it was “critical to have an empowered WHO”.

If travel restrictions had been imposed more quickly, more widely, again that would have been a serious inhibition on the rapid transmission of the disease and that remains the same today,” she added.

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Source: BBC

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