'COVID-19 severe, but only a wake-up call for more dangerous pandemics in future': WHO
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the massive havoc wreaked by the coronavirus around the globe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that even worse pandemics could lie ahead in future and urged the countries to get 'serious' about the preparedness against any type of pandemic.
Marking one year since the WHO first learned about the COVID-19 infection in China, its emergencies chief, Micheal Ryan, as quoted by news agency AFP, said that this is only a wake-up call, adding that even as this pandemic affected every corner of this planet, but this is not necessarily the big one. Since the deadly virus was first discovered in China's Wuhan last year, Covid-19 has killed nearly 1.8 million people around the world, out of over 80 million infected.
"This is a wakeup call. This pandemic has been very severe. It has spread around the world extremely quickly and it has affected every corner of this planet, but this is not necessarily the big one," Micheal Ryan said.
He stressed that while the virus is very transmissible, and it kills people, its current case fatality (rate) is reasonably low in comparison to other emerging diseases. "We need to get ready for something that may even be more severe in the future," he added further.
WHO senior advisor Bruce Aylward also cautioned that while the world had made huge scientific progress to address the coronavirus crisis, including developing vaccines at record speed, it remained far from prepared to ward off future pandemics.
"We are into second and third waves of this virus and we are still not prepared to deal with and manage those. So while we are better prepared, we are not fully prepared for this one, let alone the next one," Bruce Aylward said.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meanwhile voiced hope that the Covid-19 pandemic had helped the world become more prepared to tackle future threats. But he stressed that it was "time now to be really serious."
"In terms of awareness, I think we are now getting it," he said, adding that "More ambition will be necessary." But Tedros also hailed how scientists around the world were working closely together to help bring the pandemic to an end.
He specifically mentioned the two new strains of the virus that have emerged in Britain and South Africa, which appear to be more infectious than previous strains. "We are working with scientists in the UK and South Africa who are carrying out epidemiologic and laboratory studies, which will guide next steps," he said.
And with more than 50 countries now imposing travel restrictions on Britain, he also warned against taking punishing measures against countries that transparently share such results.
"Only if countries are looking and testing effectively will you be able to pick up variants and adjust strategies to cope? We must ensure that countries are not punished for transparently sharing new scientific findings," he said.
(With Agency Inputs)
Posted By: Talib Khan