The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Tuesday, issued a warning that another pandemic could be looming in the world, which might be even deadlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, reported The India Today.
Earlier this month, the global health body declared that the Covid-19 pandemic, which he killed at least 20 million globally, is no longer a health emergency. The WHO first declared COVID-19 public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) over the crisis on January 30, 2020.
“The end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat,” Mr. Tedros said as he presented his report to the 76th World Health Assembly.
He said the threat of another variant is emerging and that means new surges of disease and death remain, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains.
Amid overlapping and converging crises, he added that pandemics are far from the only threat that the world is facing, underscoring the need for effective global mechanisms that respond to emergencies of all kinds in no time.
Tedros said it was time to advance negotiations on preventing the next pandemic. He warned that nation-states cannot “kick this can down the road” and that the next global disease was bound to “come knocking”.
He said when the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably.
The WHO chief said COVID-19 had significant implications for health-related targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have a deadline of 2030. The pandemic also affected progress towards the Triple Billion targets which were announced at the 2017 World Health Assembly.
The 10-day annual World Health Assembly is currently being held in Geneva. It is expected to address global health challenges including future pandemics, eradicating polio, and supporting measures to ease Ukraine’s health emergency triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war.