Infectious diseases remain a danger to every country – UN

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said infectious diseases remain a danger to every country, pushing health systems to the brink and upending daily life for all of humanity.

Guterres, in his message to mark the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, said COVID-19 continued to demonstrate how quickly an infectious disease can sweep across the world.

The International Day of Epidemic is to advocate the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnership against epidemics.

“It also revealed our failure to learn the lessons of recent health emergencies like SARS, avian influenza, Zika, Ebola and others.

He said, it reminded us that the world remains woefully unprepared to stop localized outbreaks from spilling across borders, and spiraling into a global pandemic,”.

Noting that infectious diseases remain “a clear and present danger to every country”, Guterres maintained that COVID-19 would not be the last pandemic for humanity.

Even as the world responds to this health crisis, he spelt out the need to prepare for the next one.

“This means scaling-up investments in better monitoring, early detection and rapid response plans in every country — especially the most vulnerable,” he said.

“It means strengthening primary health care at the local level to prevent collapse… ensuring equitable access to lifesaving interventions, like vaccines for all people and…achieving Universal Health Coverage.”

The Secretary-General upheld that by building global solidarity, every country would have a fighting chance “to stop infectious diseases in their tracks”.

Earlier in December, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus, welcomed the decision of a special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) to develop a new global accord on pandemic prevention and response.

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