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COVID-19 will not be last pandemic: WHO

Sou-Jie van Brunnersum
December 26, 2020

The World Health Organization has said attempts to improve human health are "doomed" without efforts to combat climate change. The UN agency also called for more investments in public health.

"History tells us that this will not be the last pandemic, and epidemics are a fact of life," saysTedros
'Epidemics are a fact of life,' says TedrosImage: picture-alliance/dpa/KEYSTONE/S. D. Nolfi

World Health Organization Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday warned that the coronavirus crisis  will not be the last pandemic.

In a video message marking Sunday's first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, Tedros said all countries must invest in preparedness capacities to prevent, detect and mitigate emergencies of all kinds because "history tells us that this will not be the last pandemic, and epidemics are a fact of life."

"Strong primary healthcare is especially important as the foundation of universal health coverage," he said, adding that "true preparedness" requires an "all-of-government and all-of-society approach."

Efforts 'are doomed'

There are currently 80,182,793  coronavirus infections with 1,755,141 deaths worldwide, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The United Nations General Assembly called for a day marking a day of epidemic preparedness to promote the importance of prevention and partnership in overcoming epidemics.

"For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect ... We throw money at an outbreak, and when it's over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one," Tedros said, adding that current mechanisms are "dangerously short-sighted, and frankly difficult to understand."

He also said the pandemic has "highlighted the intimate link between the health of humans, animals and planet," and warned that climate change is making earth less habitable.

"Any efforts to improve human health are doomed" without fighting climate change, Tedros emphasized.

A few months before the coronavirus broke out, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board published its first annual report on world readiness for health emergencies and said that the world was not equipped for potentially devastating pandemics.