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Coronavirus Explainers

COVID-19 Still A Global Health Threat, New Variant Under Scanner: WHO Chief Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus

Dr Tedros urged all the countries to speed up the process of finalising the ‘Pandemic Accord’ so that it can be adopted in the World Health Assembly scheduled to be held next year

COVID-19 Still A Global Health Threat, New Variant Under Scanner: WHO Chief Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus
The WHO Chief was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting at Mahatma Mandir Convention centre in Gujarat's capital Gandhinagar.

Gandhinagar: Director-General of WHO Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus on Friday (August 18) said though COVID-19 is no longer a health emergency for the world, it is still a ‘global health threat’ and a new variant of coronavirus is already under the scanner. The chief of the World Health Organisation (WHO) was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting at Mahatma Mandir Convention centre in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar. He said,

Although COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, it remains a global health threat. WHO has recently classified a new variant with a large number of mutations. BA.2.86 variant is under monitoring at present, highlighting once again the need for all countries to maintain surveillance.

On the occasion, he urged all the countries to speed up the process of finalising the ‘Pandemic Accord’ so that it can be adopted in the World Health Assembly scheduled to be held next year. Dr Ghebreyesus in his address to the G20 member countries said,

COVID-19 has taught us all an important lesson that when health is at risk everything is at risk. The world is learning the painful lessons of the pandemic.

Also Read: “We Are Tracking Several COVID-19 Variants, Including EG.5,” Says WHO Director Dr Tedros 

Beginning with the presidency of Saudi Arabia, he said, discussions led to the establishment of a joint “Finance Health Task Force” under the interim presidency supported by Indonesia and now India under their respective presidencies.

The WHO head said negotiations on the Pandemic Accord and amendments to the international health regulations are making good progress. He said both are essential for creating the legal and operational framework for inclusive, coherent and equitable global health security architecture. He said,

I seek your commitment for negotiating a comprehensive Pandemic Accord that encompasses all the essence of pandemic so that we never repeat the same mistakes again. Time is the essence here. The accord is scheduled to be considered by the World Health Assembly next year.

On the occasion, the WHO chief praised India for introducing telemedicine at primary healthcare level. He also congratulated India for its commitment to universal health coverage at home especially through Ayushman Bharat, the world’s largest health insurance scheme.

I thank India and all the G20 countries for their leadership in developing the global initiative on digital health, which will be launched formally tomorrow. This important initiative will support the WHO global strategy on digital health and amplify other initiatives including the WHO global digital health certification network.

Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya also spoke at the event.

Also Read: Vaccine ‘Accessory’ Found To Stop Covid Infection In The Nasal Tract: Study

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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