UN Secretary-General urges global preparedness against future pandemics

UNITED NATIONS — In his message marking the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has emphasized the imperative for global preparedness against future pandemics, drawing on the lessons from the Covid-19 crisis.

“When the next pandemic arrives, we must do better. But we’re not yet ready. We must prepare and act on the lessons of Covid-19,” urged the top UN official.

“We must renounce the moral and medical disaster of rich countries hoarding and controlling pandemic healthcare supplies, and ensure everyone has access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines,” he stressed, adding that the authority of the World Health Organization (WHO) and financing must also be strengthened.

He said the way forward lies through global cooperation. The world must improve surveillance of viruses, strengthen health systems, and make the promise of Universal Health Coverage a reality, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN chief said these efforts are making progress. He recalled that the High-level meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, held in September, concluded with a robust political declaration which complements negotiations underway towards a pandemic accord.

“Together, let’s act on the lessons of Covid-19, prepare, and build a fairer, healthier world for all,” he said.

The UN General Assembly designated December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness in its resolution on December 7, 2020. — (IANS)