WHO Chief Warns of Deadlier Virus Than COVID-19 and Urges Global Preparedness

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Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), has issued a stark warning, stating that the world must be prepared for a virus that could be “even deadlier” than COVID-19, which has already claimed at least 20 million lives, as reported by The Independent. Despite the recent declaration by the global health body that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a health emergency, Dr. Tedros stressed that negotiations on preventing future pandemics must be prioritized.

Speaking at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Tedros emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and highlighted the ongoing threat of new variants causing surges of disease and death. He further cautioned that the emergence of a pathogen with even greater deadly potential was a distinct possibility. Urging nations not to defer action, Dr. Tedros emphasized that the next global disease outbreak is inevitable.

The WHO has identified nine priority diseases that pose significant risks to public health, either due to a lack of treatment options or their potential to trigger a pandemic, as reported by the Daily Mail. Dr. Tedros acknowledged that the world was caught off guard and unprepared for the severity of the COVID-19 crisis, which has upended societies worldwide. Although nearly seven million deaths have been officially reported, Dr. Tedros stated that the actual toll is likely much higher, exceeding 20 million.

Addressing the annual health assembly, Dr. Tedros emphasized the need for immediate action and urged this generation to make crucial changes to global preparedness. He stressed the importance of being ready to decisively and collectively respond to the next pandemic when it inevitably occurs. Dr. Tedros called for a commitment from the current generation, highlighting their firsthand experience of the devastating impact of a small virus.

The WHO’s declaration comes as China, after ending its prolonged zero-COVID policy restrictions, recently faced a significant surge in infections. The timing underscores the need for ongoing vigilance and preparedness, even as countries ease restrictions and strive to return to normalcy. Dr. Tedros’s plea for a comprehensive and equitable global response serves as a call to action to prevent and effectively manage future health crises.

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