Experts warn that the next epidemic will be “more devastating”

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Geneva: An international committee warned Monday that the world is not preparing enough to confront a future pandemic that may be more dangerous than the Covid-19 epidemic, and called for global cooperation and long-term financing.

The Global Preparedness Supervisory Board warned that “if we do not take the lesson from Covid-19 and if we do not act through the necessary means and demonstrate the required commitment, the next epidemic – which is certain – will be more devastating.”

The board is an independent oversight body established by the World Health Organization and the World Bank in 2018.

In its annual report, the council complained about the little progress that had been made despite the recommendations it made in its report last year, before the emerging coronavirus crisis.

“The impact of Covid-19 is worse than we expected and the measures we recommended (…) have not yet been taken,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, Co-Chair of this Council and former Director of the World Health Organization.

“Our worst fears have been realized, tragically and disastrously,” she added.

The council said that from an economic perspective, “it will take 500 years to spend the money that the world loses due to Covid-19 on the recommended preparations,” concluding that “the return on investment is enormous from preparing to confront a potential pandemic.”

Hence, the report again calls on political leaders to take responsibility and participate in increased cooperation and planning for long-term financing to prepare for a future pandemic.

It also proposes holding an international summit sponsored by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and other international financial institutions to discuss a global framework for emergency preparedness and how to respond to it.

One of the pillars of the scheme, Brundtland said.



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