Another devastating pandemic 'inevitable' if nothing changes, WHO warns

·3 min read
The Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world needed a pandemic treaty. (Getty)
The Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world needed a pandemic treaty. (Getty)

The world needs to sign a pandemic treaty and change its approach to health in order to avoid "another devastating pandemic," the head of the World Health Organization has warned.

Speaking on Thursday WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "If the world continues down the same road, it will continue heading towards the same destination, which is an unsafe world, and another devastating pandemic is inevitable. We need a new approach, and a new way of doing things.

"A Pandemic Treaty would provide a platform for closer international cooperation on preparedness, detection and response."

The WHO has been critical of many governments across the world recently warning they are underestimating the threat still posed by COVID-19 as Western nations begin to plot their way out of the pandemic.

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A WHO special envoy on COVID-19 recently said it is "too early to be talking about massive relaxation or freedom" despite the UK’s rollout of vaccines.

Dr David Nabarro said "pandemic is advancing ferociously around the world" and that "I don’t think we’ve anywhere near got through the worst of it."

He added: "I accept that vaccination has changed the nature of the equation in the UK but quite honestly from any point of view it’s too early to be talking about massive relaxation or freedom when the outbreak curve is on such a sharp ascent."

The WHO has criticised places opening up too early. (PA)
The WHO has criticised places opening up too early. (PA)

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COVID has been rising rapidly in the UK in recent days with almost 50,000 cases recorded on Thursday.

Despite this the government has pressed ahead with its plan to end restrictions on 19 July in England and the other nations of the UK aren't far behind.

Many states in the US have already almost fully reopened and Europe is also starting to plan an end to restrictions.

The WHO’s coronavirus technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove also recently criticised scenes of mass crowds gathering to watch the Euro 2020 final as “devastating”.

Many nations have been able to plan the end of restrictions in their various nations because of the success of their vaccine rollouts, but the WHO has also been critical of how wealthy nations have hoarded most of the jabs.

Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in April a "me-first approach" to vaccines had left the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk and labelled the lack of vaccine sharing a "catastrophic moral failure."

Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus also called on the world to improve cooperation around information about emerging pathogens and outbreaks is collected so the world could act faster when it came to future pandemics.

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