Geneva, Nov 30, : The World Health Assembly (WHA), has opened a special session to discuss growing Concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant.Participants are looking to negotiate a new “pandemic treaty.”Legally binding pandemic treaty
This year’s May session of the WHA decided to establish a working group to review the recommendations and findings of a number panels and committees on global preparedness.They then began discussions on a possible new “legally binding” agreement between nations on Monday, Xinhua reported.
“Covid-19 has exposed, exacerbated fundamental flaws in the global architecture of pandemic preparedness response,” stated Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO), at the opening ceremony.
He stated, “The best way to address them is through a legally binding agreement among nations, an accord forged out of the recognition that there is no future but a shared future.”
Tedros says that the new “pandemic Treaty,” which will address Covid’s “crisis of solidarity and sharing,” is expected to address it.
“The lack in sharing of personal protective equipment, tests, vaccines and technology has hindered our collective ability prevent infections and save life,” he stated.He also noted that the lack of a consistent, global approach has led to “a disjointed response, breeding misinformation, misunderstanding and mistrust.”
Get ready for Omicron
The WHA special session coincides the emergence of a highly mutated Omicronvirus variant, which was identified by the WHO as a “variant or concern” (VOC) only three days ago.
Omicron can cause more severe diseases than other variants of Delta.However, the WHO has stated that it is not yet known if Omicron is more transmissible.
Several countries have already implemented bans on entry from South Africa.Omicron was first identified in Belgium on November 9, and has since been confirmed in several European countries including the UK, Portugal and Sweden.
After a South African traveller returned to Sweden last week, the Omicron variant was confirmed by Sweden’s Public Health Agency.
Portugal’s National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge (INSA), confirmed Monday 13 cases of Omicron variant in Portugal among Belenenses SAD football players and staff.
According to the INSA, the samples were taken and analysed on Sunday.One of the positive players had recently returned from South Africa.
The Covid seven-day incidence rate in Germany climbed to 452.4 from 386.5 one week ago, according to the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases.
Christian Drosten, a German virologist, told ZDF on Sunday that his concern was “quite real”.
It is surprising to see so many mutations in this virus.
New anti-coronavirus measures in Cyprus for young schoolchildren came into effect on Monday.
Most Covid clusters are currently found in schools.
Michalis Hadipantelas (Cyprus’ health minister) stated that in addition to banning direct entry from eight African countries most affected by the Omicron virus, all travelers from other destinations will be tested for the coronavirus on arrival at airports.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski stated Monday that new restrictions will be announced by the government to deal with the new variant.This includes tightened flight rules for seven southern African countries.
Tedros stated that Omicron is a good example of why the world needs a new agreement on pandemics.”Our current system discourages countries from alerting other countries to threats that will inevitably land in their shores.”
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