International researchers have made a devastating judgment on how the world handled the coronapandemic. The virus outbreak in China could become a “catastrophic crisis” for humanity through a “toxic cocktail” of factors, concludes the IPPPR (Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response).
The experts describe the coronacrisis as the “Chernobyl moment” of the 21st century, a reference to the nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986, arguing that scientists have called for years to take measures to protect humanity from a pandemic. That would not have been done enough.
Member States of the World Health Organisation (WHO) asked for the study of the IPPPR about a year ago. The panel includes political heavyweights such as former Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand and Nobel Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former leader of Liberia.
The conclusions of the researchers do not lie about it. Institutions, according to the panel, failed to protect citizens from a pandemic that led to more than 3 million deaths. If no reforms are implemented, it will not be possible to prevent such a health crisis in the future.
The researchers say in their report that too many countries adopted a wait-and-see attitude in February 2020. There was no question of coordinated international leadership. Member States have also failed to give WTO powers to carry out its work properly.
The WHO itself is also being criticised. The IPPPR believes that this organisation could have decided to call a big alarm by an international emergency on 22 January. That didnt happen until eight days later. It took the WHO until March to talk about a pandemic. Only then did many countries really take action.
The IPPPR comes up with a series of recommendations. For example, the rich countries will have to give up one billion coronavaccines to less prosperous states by September. Also, governments and companies must voluntarily release licenses and technology to produce coronavaccines. If it does not happen within a few months, it must be enforced.
The researchers also advocate making the WTO more independent. This should be achieved, among other things, by giving the organisations top man up to one term of seven years, without a re-election option. The international community must also regulate the organisations financing better.
Preventing health crises must also be higher on the international political agenda. In the report, the experts advocate the creation of an International Council (Global Health Threats Council) chaired by Heads of State. Countries are also called upon to appoint pandemic coordinators themselves with heavy powers.