Story at a glance:
- The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is a team of experts assembled by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last May to examine the pandemic.
- Leaders could have done more to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, the international panel said.
- Developing nations need a donation of 1 billion vaccines.
An independent panel said the COVID-19 pandemic was avoidable if world leaders acted appropriately, The Hill reported.
Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia, were part of a panel called the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), and they have criticized global leaders and demanded better actions in the future.
The review from IPPPR stated that efforts to stop the spread were inconsistent and underfunded. The report also chastises the alert system for being slow and subdued.
“[February 2020] is a month of lost opportunity to avert a pandemic, as so many countries chose to wait and see," Clark said.
“For some, it wasn’t until hospital ICU beds began to fill that more action was taken,” she said. “And by then it was too late to avert the pandemic impact. What followed then was a winner takes all scramble for PPE and therapeutics. Globally, health workers were tested to their limits and the rates of infection, illness and death soared and continue to soar.”
“The situation we find ourselves in today could have been prevented. An outbreak of a new pathogen, Sars CoV-2 became a catastrophic pandemic that has now killed more than 3.25 million people, and continues to threaten lives and livelihoods all over the world,” Sirleaf said. "It is due to a myriad of failures, gaps and delays in preparedness and response. This was partly due to failure to learn from the past.”
The panel urges world leaders to donate at least 1 billion vaccine doses to low- and middle-income countries as part of WHO's Covax Gavi Advance Market Commitment, a vaccine equity plan to ensure more than 2 billion doses get provided by mid-2022, Market Watch reported.
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