The COVID-19 pandemic was “a preventable disaster,” an independent high-level panel commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report that exposed national and global failures.
The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), whose 13 members were appointed by WHO, revealed “weak links at every point in the chain of preparedness and response” to COVID-19, which led it to become the “21st century’s Chernobyl moment.”
“Preparation was inconsistent and underfunded. The alert system was too slow —and too meek. The World Health Organization was under-powered. The response has exacerbated inequalities. Global political leadership was absent,” IPPPR stated in the report released on May 12.
IPPPR found that WHO should have declared the outbreak in China a global emergency a week earlier than it did in January 2020 and it described February 2020 as “a lost month of opportunity to contain the outbreak.”
IPPPR also blamed WHO member states, saying they “had underpowered the agency to do the job demanded of it.”
According to IPPPR, the “uncoordinated system” of WHO and governments created a “toxic cocktail, which allowed allowed the pandemic to turn into a catastrophic human crisis.”
IPPPR also described the vaccine distribution as “blatantly unjust and not strategic.”
Urging for a new international system for pandemic preparedness and response, IPPPR recommended key reforms to prevent another pandemic, which include establishing a high-level Global Health Threats Council and a new global disease surveillance system.
IPPPR also recommended to transform “a truly global end-to-end platform” to deliver vaccines worldwide.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been over 160 million cases and over 3.3 million deaths worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic.
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