The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief highlighted that some of the lessons learnt from the earlier virus outbreaks were implemented while others went unheeded after the review. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that earlier reviews of SARS, the H1N1 pandemic and Ebola epidemic underlined the shortcomings in global health security and made numerous recommendations for countries to address those gaps.
“Some were implemented, others went unheeded,” said the WHO chief while addressing the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly.
Dr Ghebreyesus said that the SARS outbreak gave rise to the revision of the International Health Regulations in 2005 and the H1N1 pandemic saw the creation of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework. He added that Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, the WHO Emergencies Programme and the Independent Oversight Advisory Committee were established after the Ebola outbreak.
“Today I am calling on all nations to resolve that they will do everything it takes to ensure that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is never repeated,” said the top UN health agency official.
Dr Ghebreyesus has also welcomed the proposed resolution seeking an independent and impartial probe into the COVID-19 response. He emphasised that such evaluation must encompass the entirety of the response by all actors, in good faith. The draft resolution seeking an independent investigation into the pandemic has been signed by 123 members countries of the WHO.
“We welcome the proposed resolution before the World Health Assembly, which calls for a step-wise process of impartial, independent & comprehensive evaluation,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.
However, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Beijing supports a comprehensive review of the global response to the pandemic led by the UN health agency but only after the coronavirus is brought under control. The Chinese leader asserted that Beijing has been open and transparent about the virus outbreak from the beginning and will support a probe if it is conducted in an objective and impartial manner.