Coronavirus: Countries ′ignored′ early warnings for COVID-19 | News | DW | 29.04.2020
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Coronavirus: Countries 'ignored' early warnings for COVID-19

Though early warning resources are in place they have not yet worked in real time, a German military think tank has claimed. The US was cited as a prime example of political failures to implement existing systems.

Many countries did not pay enough attention to early warning signs for the coronavirus outbreak, according to the German Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies (GIDS), a military think tank. 

"This crisis has shown that various countries, depending on their political cultures, have partially ignored or even denied the early warning signals," said Christian Haggenmiller, an expert and doctor with GIDS as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Haggenmiller said the "best example" was the United States, which has "very extensive resources for the early detection of health hazards." Though it "recognized the development around COVID-19 in a timely manner," the pandemic "was not considered a priority by the current political leadership."

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There were "numerous early warning signs," he said — "the WHO receives about 7,000 infection warnings a month." But it's up to political systems to implement measures to combat a pandemic.

He did admit there is sometimes "alarm fatigue," or "hesitation on the part of decision-makers due to the abundance of alerts."

COVID-19 cases exceeded 3 million cases worldwide this week, with nearly a third of them in the United States, according to data from John's Hopkins University in the US.

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