The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised an alarm calling on the world to be ready for the emergence of a pathogen much deadlier than the novel COVID-19.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the Director-General of the health body made the call on Wednesday during the 76th World Health Assembly in in Geneva, Switzerland.
‘The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains. And the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains,’ he said.
‘And pandemics are far from the only threat we face. In a world of overlapping and converging crises, an effective architecture for health emergency preparedness and response must address emergencies of all kinds.’
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Africa Today News, New York reports tha the warning is coming weeks after the WHO boss declared an end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern.
Ghebreyesus added that “this year’s High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Preparedness and Response is a valuable opportunity for leaders to chart a clear path forward towards that future”.
He did not mention the name of the ‘expected’ disease but urged all and sundry to be ‘ready to answer decisively, collectively and equitably when the pandemic comes knocking’.
The WHO has earlier declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
He made the declaration last Friday after a review of current evidence that shows there is high population-level immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 infection, improved knowledge of the virus and management of confirmed COVID-19 cases, a decline in the global burden of the virus, and also a steady increase in vaccine uptake across countries.
Following the declaration, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) issued a statement on Sunday disclosing that Nigeria had already de-escalated its COVID-19 response since 2022 in response to local epidemiology, focused on encouraging COVID-19 vaccination and recommended discretionary use of face masks and other public health safety measures according to personal risk assessments.