'Threat Of Another Variant And Pathogen Emerging Remains': WHO Chief's Warning On Next Pandemic
“When the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably.”
Days after declaring Covid-19 over as a global health emergency, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief said that the threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains.
In his address to the 76th World Health Assembly, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "“The end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat.”
'Pandemics Are Far From The Only Threat We Face': WHO Chief
“The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains,” he said according to a UN release.
Furthermore, in the face of overlapping and converging crises, “pandemics are far from the only threat we face”, Tedros added, underscoring the need for effective global mechanisms that address and respond to emergencies of all kinds.
“When the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably,” he advised.
The WHO chief also drew attention to the significant implications of COVID-19 on health-related targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have a deadline of 2030.
We need @WHO Member States to deliver the #PandemicAccord on time, as a generational commitment. The next pandemic will not wait for us. We must be ready. #WHA76https://t.co/IUMnYEtZH8 pic.twitter.com/KwwRbT8CIv— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 22, 2023
"The end of #COVID19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat.— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 22, 2023
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Tedros reported that countries have made progress on universal health coverage, with some 477 million people now benefitting. He warned that if current trends continue, fewer than half the world’s people will be covered by the end of the decade, “meaning we must at least double the pace”.
"The pandemic has blown us off course, but it has shown us why the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must remain our north star, and why we must pursue them with the same urgency and determination with which we countered the pandemic," Tedros said.