COVID-19 has identified and exacerbated fundamental vulnerabilities in the global pandemic preparedness and response architecture. The best way we can deal with them is with a legally binding agreement between nations, an agreement created based on the recognition that we have no future but a common future, says World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
GENEVA, 29 nov. (Xinhua) – A special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) started here on Monday amid growing concerns over the latest Omicron virus variant, with participants aiming to negotiate a new “pandemic treaty”.
LEGALLY BINDING PANDEMY DEDUCTIONS
The WHA’s May session this year decided to set up a working group to consider the findings and recommendations of a number of panels and committees on global preparedness for and response to covid-19 before launching their discussions on Monday on the potential new “legally binding agreement”. between nations. “
“COVID-19 has identified and exacerbated fundamental weaknesses in the global architecture for pandemic preparedness and response,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), at the start of the special session.
“The best way we can deal with them is with a legally binding agreement between nations, an agreement created based on the recognition that we have no future but a common future,” he said.
According to Tedros, the new “pandemic treaty” is expected to treat COVID-19 as “a crisis of solidarity and division.”
“The lack of sharing PPE (personal protective equipment), tests, vaccines, technology, know-how, intellectual property and other tools hindered our collective ability to prevent infections and save lives,” he said, noting the lack of a consistent and coherent global approach has resulted in “a fragmented and incoherent reaction, raising misunderstandings, misinformation and mistrust.”
PREPARE FOR OMICRON
WHA’s special session coincides with the emergence of the highly mutated Omicron virus variant, which was designated by the WHO as a “variant of concern” (VOC) just three days ago.
Although the WHO has said that it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or causes more serious diseases than the other known variants, including Delta, concerns about its impact on the effects of existing vaccines and treatments have increased.
A number of countries have already introduced travel bans for travelers from South Africa, where Omicron was first confirmed on 9 November and has been identified in several European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Sweden.
On Monday, the Swedish Public Health Agency confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, which was found when a traveler who returned to Sweden from South Africa last week was tested.
Portugal’s national health institute, Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), on Monday confirmed 13 cases of the Omicron variant in Portugal among players and staff of the Belenenses SAD football club.
INSA said that the samples were collected and analyzed on Sunday, and that one of the players who tested positive had recently returned to the country from South Africa.
In Germany, the incidence of covid-19 climbed for seven days to a new record level of 452.4, up from 386.5 a week ago, the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases announced on Monday.
German virologist Christian Drosten told ZDF television on Sunday that he was “quite worried at the moment. I’m surprised to see so many mutations in the virus.”
In Cyprus, new anti-coronavirus measures related to young school children came into force on Monday, with most covid-19 clusters currently in schools.
In addition to banning direct arrivals from the eight African countries most affected by the Omicron variant, all travelers coming from other destinations will also be tested for the corona virus at airports, said Michalis Hadipantelas, Cyprus’ Minister of Health.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday that the country’s government is set to announce new restrictions to cope with the new variant, including stricter flight rules for seven South African nations.
“Omicron shows exactly why the world needs a new pandemic agreement: our current system deters countries from warning others of threats that will inevitably land on their shores,” Tedros said.