WHO reaches draft consensus on future pandemic treaty
Member states of the World Health Organization have reached a consensus to negotiate a future agreement on preventing pandemics.
The draft resolution will be presented for adoption to health ministers at three-day special assembly that opens in Geneva on Monday.
A global agreement to strengthen pandemic prevention and responses, expected to be ready in May 2024, would cover issues such as sharing of data and genome sequences of emerging viruses, and of any potential vaccines and drugs derived from research.
Meanwhile, talking to media in Geneva, the WHO regional director Matshidiso Moeti warned today that the new Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a very high risk globally, despite uncertainties about the danger and contagion levels of the new strain.
The UN health agency’s director said the Covid strain first discovered in southern Africa is a highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations and higher transmissibility.
He said if another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe.
The WHO also urged the countries to accelerate vaccination against Covid, especially among vulnerable populations who have yet to receive any jabs.
Meanwhile, a growing list of countries have already imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa, including Britain, Indonesia, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States.