“This is a wake-up call,” WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan told reporters at a briefing one year since the UN agency first learned about the spread of the new virus in China.
Since then, Covid-19 has killed nearly 1.8 million of over 80 million people infected worldwide.
“This pandemic was very serious,” admitted Ryan.
“It has spread around the world extremely quickly, affecting every corner of the planet, but this is not necessarily the big one.”
He stressed that while the virus is “highly transmissible and kills people … its current death rate (rate) is relatively low compared to other emerging diseases”.
“We need to prepare for something that could be even more serious in the future.”
Bruce Aylward, WHO Senior Advisor, also warned that while the world has made tremendous scientific advances in addressing the coronavirus crisis, including developing vaccines at record speed, it is by no means ready to stave off future pandemics.
“We are in the second and third waves of this virus and we are still not ready to deal with and manage them,” he told the briefing.
“So while we’re better prepared … we’re not fully prepared for this one, let alone the next.”
– ‘More ambition’ –
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, meanwhile, expressed hope that the Covid-19 pandemic had helped the world better prepare for future threats.
“In terms of awareness, I think we’re getting it now,” he said.
But he stressed that “now is the time to be really serious”.
“More ambition will be necessary.”
But Tedros also praised how scientists around the world are working closely together to end the pandemic.
He specifically mentioned the two new strains of the virus that have emerged in the UK and South Africa that appear to be more contagious than previous strains.
“We are working with scientists in the UK and South Africa who are doing epidemiological studies and laboratory studies to guide the next steps,” he said.
He welcomed the two countries for testing and tracking the new variants.
And with more than 50 countries now imposing travel restrictions on Britain, he also warned against taking punitive action against countries that transparently share such findings.
“Only when countries search and test effectively can they choose variants and adapt strategies to deal with them,” he said.
“We have to make sure that countries are not penalized for transparently sharing new scientific knowledge.”
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)