The world is ‘sadly’ unprepared for COVID-19 and remains ill-equipped for the next pandemic, the report finds
The world is ‘sadly’ unprepared for COVID-19 and remains ill-equipped for the next pandemic, the report finds

The world is ‘sadly’ unprepared for COVID-19 and remains ill-equipped for the next pandemic, the report finds

“COVID-19 is the 21st century Chernobyl moment.”

The world was “sadly” unprepared for it COVID-19 pandemic, and remains vulnerable to the next major “catastrophic” health crisis, concluded a panel set up by the World Health Organization.

“COVID-19 is the 21st Century Chernobyl Moment – not because a disease outbreak is like a nuclear accident, but because it has so clearly shown the seriousness of the threat to our health and well-being,” experts from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response wrote in a report entitled “COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic,” released Wednesday.

The panel, chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister and UNDP leader Helen Clark and former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for immediate action to avert the next pandemic, otherwise “we will condemn the world to successive disasters.”

“It has caused a crisis so deep and widespread that presidents, prime ministers and leaders of international and regional bodies must now immediately accept their responsibility to transform the way the world prepares for and responds to global health threats,” the panel said. “If not now, when?”

The panel’s extensive study revealed “flaws and gaps” in governments’ international and national responses, which ultimately failed to protect the public.

“Current institutions, public and private, failed to protect people from a devastating pandemic. Without change, they will not prevent a future one,” the group said.

Experts wrote that they remain “deeply concerned” and “alarmed” at the persistently high and widespread levels of COVID-19 transmission across the globe, especially given the possible emergence of new variants that may continue to “impose a unacceptable burden on societies. “

“People are grieving over the loss of their loved ones and those with long-term health effects of the disease continue to suffer,” the panel wrote. “It does not have to be that way.”

The panel called for immediate investment in pandemic contingency measures, improvement of surveillance systems, widespread plans to produce vaccines, diagnostics, therapy and supplies, and access to pandemic-related financial support.

With more than 5.7 billion people in the world over the age of 16, the panel stressed the critical need to support global vaccine access and justice, claiming that “this is not a hope for tomorrow – it’s urgent now.”

“Ending this pandemic as soon as possible goes hand in hand with preparing to avert another,” they wrote.

“As soon as a health threat or a fatal outbreak disappears from memory, complacency takes over in what has been called a cycle of panic and neglect. This cycle must end.”

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