WHO Special session seeking 'pandemic treaty' amid Omicron scare

Geneva: The World Health Assembly (WHA) has convened a special session in response to mounting worries about the latest Omicron coronavirus variant, with the goal of negotiating a new legally binding "pandemic treaty."

According to reports, the World Health Assembly's May session this year decided to form a working group to consider the findings and recommendations of a number of panels and committees on global preparedness for Covid-19 before beginning discussions on a potential new "legally binding agreement between nations" on Monday. At the outset of the special conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus remarked, "Covid-19 has highlighted and worsened basic flaws in the global framework for pandemic preparedness and response." "The only way to address them is by a legally binding agreement between nations, an agreement created from the awareness that we have no future but a shared destiny," he said.

The new "pandemic pact," according to Tedros, will confront Covid as a "crisis of solidarity and sharing." "Our collective ability to prevent infections and save lives was hampered by a lack of sharing of PPE (personal protective equipment), tests, vaccines, technology, know-how, intellectual property, and other tools," he said, adding that the lack of a consistent and coherent global approach has resulted in "a splintered and disjointed response, breeding misunderstanding, misinformation, and mistrust." Prepare yourselves for Omicron.

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