Peter Piot reacts to Report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness & Response12 May 2021 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
"I very much welcome the Independent Panel’s report and it’s clear - and at times bold - recommendations for urgent actions to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Crucially it also lays the foundation to prevent future epidemics from spiraling into global emergencies.
"The COVID-19 crisis has tragically claimed lives and livelihoods around the world, devastating societies and exacerbating inequalities. We should not miss the opportunity in this crisis to strengthen country and global capacities and organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which the world needs more than ever to keep us safe from future epidemics.
"I am particularly pleased with the proposal to establish a Global Health Threat Council which could be launched as soon as possible at a UN General Assembly Special Session on COVID-19, something that is long overdue. This will ensure high-level political leadership and sustain attention on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response over time.
"Existential threats to human health security must be addressed at Heads of State and Government level, with the support of health agencies such as WHO and robust multisector coordination. This should also lead to much stronger accountability systems globally, regionally, and nationally.
"One dimension which could have been further highlighted is the critical and growing role of regional entities in preparedness and response such as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, including strengthening regional manufacturing capacities. It is also clear that the International Health Regulations must be reformed to be more flexible, more responsive, and to include a scale of alert options.
"The top priority is obviously to urgently bring the pandemic under control, everywhere. The imperative is to implement the immediate call for actions on redistributing vaccines, funding the COVAX platform, and increasing availability and manufacturing capacity of vaccines right now. This is not only a moral imperative, but critical for pandemic control.
"These immediate actions to ensure global vaccine equity, together with the full implementation of the Panel’s recommendations, will not only help end the acute stage of the pandemic but pave the way to ensure future outbreaks do not result in pandemics.
"I very much look forward to further action and commitment to strengthen global health equity and security at the Global Health Summit, which will be co-hosted by the European Commission and Italy, as chair of the G20, next week in Rome."
There cannot be any complacency as to the need for global action.
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