- BBC World News
When the world registers this month of May more than 3 million deaths and almost 160 million people infected by covid-19, a panel of 13 independent experts, convened at the request of the WHO, determined that the health catastrophe unleashed in early 2020 it could have been avoided.
The pandemic “remains a global disaster. Worse, it was an avoidable disaster.”
This is how forceful the report of the Independent Panel for Preparedness and Response to a pandemic begins that has been examining why covid-19 has become since September last year. a global health and socioeconomic crisis.
The main criticism is taken by the World Health Organization, as well as Europe and the United States, for lose precious time before declaring a health emergency international.
Delay, hesitation, and denial
“The Independent Panel has found weak links at all points in the prevention and response chain. Preparation was inconsistent and underfunded. The alert system was too slow and too modest, “says the panel after conducting hundreds of interviews in the past 8 months.
“The World Health Organization had little power. Global political leadership was absent,” the document reads.
For experts, the economic damage is incalculable By now it seems clear that the response has exacerbated inequalities.
The panel, co-chaired by former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, believes that the “a toxic cocktail” of hesitation and poor coordination That caused the warning signs to go unheeded.
The first responses to outbreak detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019 “lacked urgency.”
“February was a lost month in which many more countries could have taken serious measures to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, “the panel said.
But experts also point out that institutions “failed to protect people” and that leaders who they denied the scientific arguments eroded public confidence in sanitary measures.
Backed by the report’s conclusions, the former New Zealand prime minister said in the presentation of the document that the global emergency could have been declared as early as January 22, after the first meeting of the WHO Emergency Committee.
But that “most governments chose to wait to see what would happen” and it was not until “they began to see that intensive care units were filling up they started to act, but it was too late. “
Avoid future pandemics
But beyond pointing out the chain of errors that have led the international community to this health crisis, the report entitled “Covid-19: May it be the last pandemic”, argued that the global alarm system needed a review to avoid a similar catastrophe.
The panel asks the richest countries to donate 1 billion doses of vaccines to the poorest and that they finance an international mechanism that maintains a continuous response capacity in the face of possible pandemics.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.