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In shadow of Omicron, WHO chief pushes for global pandemic accord

17 1 1
29.11.2021

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization is pushing for an international accord to help prevent and fight future pandemics amid the emergence of a worrying new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that many uncertainties remain about just how transmissible and severe infection by the highly mutated Omicron might be.

Tedros joined leaders including outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera for a long-planned and largely virtual special session of the UN health agency’s member states at the World Health Assembly.

The gathering is aimed at devising a global action plan toward preventing, preparing and responding to future pandemics.

“The emergence of the highly mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is,” Tedros said, calling for a “legally binding” agreement that wasn’t mentioned in a draft text seeking consensus on the way forward. “Indeed, Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics.”

“Our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores,” he said, saying that South Africa and Botswana — where the new variant was detected in southern Africa — should be........

© The Times of Israel


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