World must invest more to avoid COVID repeat –G20 panel

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Participants attend the G20 high-level tax symposium during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting in Venice, Italy, July 9, 2021. G20 Italy/Handout via REUTERS

 

The world must invest much more to avoid a repeat of the Coronavirus pandemic, experts convened by the G20 said on Friday as they warned the next health crisis could come within a decade.

“The world is far from equipped to prevent or stop the next pandemic,” the high-level independent panel said in a report presented at the G20 finance ministers meeting in Venice, Italy.

It said even as COVID-19 rages, “there is every likelihood that the next pandemic will come within a decade — arising from a novel influenza strain, another Coronavirus, or one of several other dangerous pathogens”.

“Its impact on human health and the global economy could be even more profound than that of COVID-19,” it said.

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The report recommended governments increase financing for prevention and preparedness by at least $75bn over the next five years.

This would fund a coordinated surveillance and research network for infectious diseases, more resilient healthcare systems, better governance to manage crises and an improved global capacity to produce vaccines.

“We must learn the right lessons from this pandemic in order to be well prepared for the next one,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

She noted, however, that COVID-19 “is still here”, urging the G20 ministers to do more to donate vaccines and support manufacturing and distribution.

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