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Not last pandemic

THE dreaded coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), which originated from Wuhan City in China, has claimed the lives of more than 930,000 people, including 4,663 Filipinos, throughout the globe.

This is by far the “most serious” health crisis to hit the world in a long, long time, taking massive toll on lives and overwhelming even nations with advanced health systems and powerful economies.

COVID-19 can be fatal, with older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes, appear to be more vulnerable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that COVID-19 is a harbinger of future global health emergencies, and called for political and financial investments to prevent pandemics.

A specialized agency of the United Nations, WHO is responsible for international public health. Its main objective is the attainment by all peoples across the globe of the highest possible level of health.

“This will not be the last pandemic, nor the last global health emergency,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a launch of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) 2020 report.

Tedros, a known Ethiopian biologist and a public health researcher, declared: “We do not know what the next health emergency will be, but we know it will come and we must be prepared.”

Like other well-meaning peoples across the globe, we share the view of Tedros that humanity has a shared responsibility to leave the world better prepared for the next pandemic.

Tedros also noted that many of the nations that did well in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic were those that learned from previous outbreaks, like SARS, MERS, H1N1, Ebola and others.

Doubtless, some very good lessons can be picked up from these outbreaks. And it is certainly urgent on the authorities and the public to take the necessary steps to the make the world safer.

Thus, everybody must move now – and fast!