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New bid to prepare world for pandemics

Thursday December 2nd 2021

The world needs a proper convention on how to manage and prevent pandemics, health ministers have agreed.

The decision was made at a special session of the World Health Assembly following warnings from the World Health Organization about “panic and neglect” and a “global stampede” for vaccines.

It was only the second time the Assembly has held a special decision.

There will now be an intergovernmental body to draft the new convention.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the many flaws in the global system to protect people from pandemics: the most vulnerable people going without vaccines; health workers without needed equipment to perform their life-saving work; and ‘me-first’ approaches that stymie the global solidarity needed to deal with a global threat.

“But at the same time, we have seen inspiring demonstrations of scientific and political collaboration, from the rapid development of vaccines to today’s commitment by countries to negotiate a global accord that will help to keep future generations safer from the impacts of pandemics.”

The decision came as the world continues to assess the dangers from the rapidly spreading omicron variant.

In South Africa daily reports of infection have quadrupled this week – but reported deaths remain low. Yesterday it reported 8,561 new cases of infection and 28 new deaths.

The UK reported 48,374 new cases of infection and 171 deaths from the virus, numbers in line with daily incidence throughout the autumn.

Tags: Africa | Flu & Viruses | UK News | World Health

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