UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the world to prepare for the next pandemic and act on lessons learned from COVID-19.
Guterres said this in a message on Wednesday to mark the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, celebrated annually on December 27, which provides an opportunity for renewed commitment to the vital work of epidemic preparedness.
After three years of unprecedented global efforts, on May 5, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency, stressing however, that it does not mean the disease is no longer a global threat.
The UN chief noted that three years after the first COVID-19 vaccines were developed, billions of people remain unprotected – overwhelmingly in developing countries.
According to him, the way forward lies through global cooperation and the world must improve surveillance of viruses, strengthen health systems, and make the promise of Universal Health Coverage a reality.