WHO chief warns that COVID-19 won't be the world's last pandemic as he tells countries to prepare for future emergencies

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Kelly McLaughlin
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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference amid the COVID-19 outbreak at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS
  • World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that there will be more pandemics in the future during a video shared on the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on Sunday.

  • Tedros said the world failed "to prepare" for the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the future countries should work to "prevent, detect, and mitigate emergencies of all kinds, whether they be naturally occurring epidemics or deliberate events."

  • He said investments in public health and "all-of-government, all-of-society, one health approach" could help countries successfully prepare for future pandemics.

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World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that COVID-19 won't be the world's last pandemic while speaking in a video statement on the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on Sunday.

Tedros used his message to encourage countries to prepare better by working to "prevent, detect, and mitigate emergencies of all kinds, whether they be naturally occurring epidemics or deliberate events."

"History tells us his will not be the last pandemic, and epidemics are a fact of life," he said.

He said investments in public health and an "all-of-government, all-of-society, one health approach" could help countries successfully react to global health crises in the future.

"If we fail to prepare, we are preparing to fail. … Last year, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board published its first report, which concluded, the world remains dangerously unprepared for a global pandemic," he said in the video.

Nearly 1.8 million people across the world have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began and more than 80 million people have tested positive for the virus.

In the United States alone, more than 332,000 people have died from the virus and more than 19 million have tested positive, according to Johns Hopkins.

COVID-19 vaccines are currently being given to healthcare workers, and are expected to be given to the general public in 2021.

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