The emergence of the threatening new Omicron variant shows how important it is for the world to end the current “cycle of panic and neglect” over the COVID-19 pandemic, said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was addressing the start of a special three-day meeting of the organisation’s governing body in Geneva on Monday, amidst a global alert over the new strain, arguing that greater international cooperation is essential to preserve “hard won gains” against the virus.
The World Health Assembly meeting was convened to decide on the issue of a so-called “pandemic treaty”. Tedros said the world has not responded accordingly to COVID-19, and vaccine inequity, among other challenges, has facilitated the appearance of new highly mutated variants such as Omicron.
“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”, said the WHO Director General. More