COVID-19

  • Recently, an independent global panel, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) in its report named “Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic concluded that the catastrophic scale of the Covid-19 pandemic could have been prevented.
  • The report was requested by World Health Organization (WHO) member states in May 2020.

Important points:

  • A series of bad decisions meant Covid-19 went on to kill at least 3.3 million people so far and devastate the global economy.
  • Poor strategic choices, unwillingness to tackle inequalities and an uncoordinated system created a toxic cocktail which allowed the pandemic to turn into a catastrophic human crisis.
  • Institutions failed to protect people and science-denying leaders eroded public trust in health interventions.
  • The threat of a pandemic had been overlooked and countries were woefully unprepared to deal with one.
  • Early responses to the outbreak detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019 lacked urgency, with February 2020 a costly “lost month” as countries failed to heed the alarm.
  • The emergence of Covid-19 was characterised by a mixture of some early and rapid action, but also by delay, hesitation, and denial.
  • WHO could have declared the situation a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), its highest level of alarm in January 2020.

Recommendations:

  • Rich, well-vaccinated countries should provide the 92 poorest territories in the Covax scheme with at least one billion vaccine doses by September 2021, and more than two billion by mid-2022.
  • The G7 industrialised nations should pay 60% of the USD19 billion required to fund vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics via the WHO’s access to Covid Tools Accelerator programme in 2021.
  • G20 nations and others should provide the rest.
  • The WHO and the World Trade Organization (WTO) should also get major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfers for Covid-19 vaccines.
  • If actions do not occur within three months, a waiver of intellectual property rights should come into force immediately.
  • India and South Africa are already attempting to get WTO member countries to agree to such a waiver to fight the pandemic equitably.
  • To tackle future outbreaks and pandemics, the panel called for a Global Health Threats Council made up of world leaders, plus a pandemic convention.
  • The G20 should also create an International Pandemic Financing Facility, able to spend USD 5-10 billion a year on preparedness, with USD 50 to USD 100 billion ready to roll in the event of a crisis.
  • Proposed an overhaul of the WHO to give it greater control over its funding and more authority for its leadership.
  • Its alert system needed to be faster and it should have the authority to send expert missions to countries immediately without waiting for their green light.

SOURCE: THE HINDU , THE ECONOMIC TIMES ,MINT

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