COVID-19 won't be the last pandemic humanity will face, warns UN chief

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the COVID-19 epidemic will not be the last of its sort, and that people should take steps to prevent future breakouts. "COVID-19 will not be the final epidemic to strike humanity. We must plan for the next health catastrophe while we respond to this one. Let us give this issue the attention, focus, and investment it deserves on this International Day of Epidemic Preparedness "In a tweet, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated.

After the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed on the need of advocating for epidemic preparedness and prevention, the first-ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness was observed on December 27 of last year.

During his final press briefing of the year in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that blanket COVID-19 vaccine booster programmes could prolong the disease outbreak and increase inequity. "No country can boost its way out of the pandemic," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "And boosters must be used as a free pass to proceed with scheduled festivities without taking further care," he warned.

The WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has released interim guidelines on booster doses, expressing worry that large-scale vaccination programmes for wealthy nations could exacerbate vaccine inequity. Tedros reminisced on the previous year, stating that COVID-19 killed more people in 2021 than HIV, malaria, and TB combined in 2020. This year, the coronavirus killed 3.5 million people and continues to kill 50,000 people every week.

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