WHO, Nations took Poor Strategic Calls on COVID Pandemic: Panel
Leaders who refuted science behind the virus eroded public trust, and institutions failed to protect people: IPPPR
The huge scale of COVID-19 pandemic could have been avoided, but due a series of bad decisions, at least 3.3 million succumbed to COVID-19, as per a report published on Wednesday, 12 May, by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR).
The findings of the report, "Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic", shared by AFP, concludes that the warning signs of the pandemic were ignored.
“Poor strategic choices, unwillingness to tackle inequalities and an uncoordinated system created a toxic cocktail, which allowed the pandemic to turn into a catastrophic human crisis,” it noted.
IPPPR was jointly chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as per the report. It was requested by the World Health Organisation member states last May.
Sirleaf noted that the situation was preventable, but due to “myriad failures, gaps and delays in preparedness and response” it spiralled to the present state.
In May 2020, over 100 nations asked for an independent probe into how the virus transmitted to humans, for which WHO agreed to hold an inquiry. The meeting was agreed upon by China after months of negotiations.
The ten-member expert team was formed and it began coordinating this visit with Chinese officials since July 2020 to probe into the earliest cases of the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019.
What the Report Said
The panel report stated that the response to COVID was “some early and rapid action, but also by delay, hesitation, and denial”, adding that countries were underprepared to mitigate the crisis, reported AFP.
The leaders, who refuted the science behind the virus, eroded public trust and institutions failed to protect people, as per the IPPPR’s report.
The response after the outbreak in Wuhan, lacked urgency where countries failed to respond swiftly to the alarm. It also pulled up WHO for its eight-day delay in declaring the situation the highest red alert of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
What the Panel Recommended
The panel had several recommendations to curb the pandemic now, as per AFP:
- World’s richest, well-vaccinated nations should donate a billion vaccine doses to the 92 poorest countries by 1 September and another 2 billion by middle of 2022.
- The G7 industrialised nations should pay 60 percent of the USD 19 billion to WHO’s Access to COVID Tools Accelerator programme. This move should be supplemented by donations from fellow G20 nations.
- Voluntary licensing and technology transfers for COVID vaccines between major vaccine producing nations under WHO and World Trade Organisation.
- A Global Health Threats Council must be formed with world leaders, and a pandemic convention for future outbreaks, with a funding of USD 5-10 billion a year on preparedness, with USD 50-100 billion for any immediate crisis under an International Pandemic Financing Facility, must be set up.
A global team of virology experts, appointed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), had gone to Wuhan on 14 January to begin their investigation into the origins of the pandemic, AFP reported.
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