Coronavirus pandemic will not be last, says WHO chief
The coronavirus pandemic will not be the last one, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday. He warned against the "short-sighted" cycle of throwing money at outbreaks when they occur and making no effort to prepare for the next one. The statement comes nearly a year into the pandemic, which has sickened over 80 million people and killed 1.75 million.
'For too long, world operated on cycle of neglect'
In a video message marking Sunday's first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, Dr. Tedros said, "For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect." "We throw money at an outbreak, and when it's over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one. This is dangerously short-sighted, and frankly difficult to understand," he said.
Attempts to improve human health 'doomed' without tackling climate change
Dr. Tedros said, "History tells us that this will not be the last pandemic... The pandemic has highlighted the intimate links between the health of humans, animals, and planet." He said, "Any efforts to improve human health are doomed unless they address the critical interface between humans and animals, and the existential threat of climate change that's making our earth less habitable."
World turned upside down in past year: Dr. Tedros
Dr. Tedros said, "In the past 12 months, our world has been turned upside-down. The impacts of the pandemic go far beyond the disease itself, with far-reaching consequences for societies and economies." He said the coronavirus crisis should not have come as a surprise, given the repeated warnings. It is time to learn the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
'Investments in public health can ensure safer world for kids'
Dr. Tedros urged all countries to invest in preparedness capacities to prevent, detect, and mitigate emergencies of all kinds. He said with investments in public health, "we can ensure that our children and their children inherit a safer, more resilient and more sustainable world."
International Day of Epidemic Preparedness called to handle outbreaks
The United Nations General Assembly had called the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness to promote the importance of prevention, preparedness, and partnership in tackling epidemics. Published in September 2019, a few months before the coronavirus pandemic, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board's first annual report on world readiness for health emergencies had said the planet was woefully unprepared for potentially devastating pandemics.