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The world is at risk from pandemics that could kill millions, warns Reuters panel




By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) – The world is facing a growing threat of pandemic diseases that could kill millions and destroy the global economy, warns an international panel of experts, and governments must manage to prepare and reduce risk.

The Global Preparedness Monitoring Council (GPMB), co-founded by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), warns that epidemic diseases such as Ebola, Flu and SARS are difficult to manage in a world that is dominated by long conflicts, fragile states and forced immigration.

"The threat of a pandemic spread worldwide," the group said in a report. "A fast pathogen has the potential to kill tens of millions of people, disrupt economies and stabilize national security."

While some governments and international agencies have tried to be cautious and prepare for major outbreaks of the disease since the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 201

4 and 2015, these efforts have " extremely lacking, ”the report said.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former WHO chair led by the council, added that current approaches to disease and health emergencies are "characterized by a cycle of panic and neglect."

The report mentions the 1918 "Spanish Flu" virus, which killed approximately 50 million people. With a large number of people flying around the world every day, an equivalent outbreak of airborne illness can spread worldwide in less than 36 hours, killing between 50 and 80 million people , which makes up about 5% of the economy. generally, the document states.

In the event of a pandemic, many national health systems – especially poor countries – will collapse.

"Poverty and deterioration exacerbate the spread of infectious diseases and help create the conditions for pandemics to occur," said Axel van Trotsenburg, interim executive director of the World Bank and a panel member.

Calling governments to "pay attention to the lessons that these uprisings teach us" and "fix the roof before it rains," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was greater investment to strengthen health systems. health, research and new technologies, improved coordination, and the establishment of faster communication systems to continuously monitor progress.

The WHO also warned this year that another flu pandemic – caused by airborne viruses – was inevitable, and that the world should be prepared for it.

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