The world's health system was not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic and in its current form is clearly not able to prevent the development of a new highly infectious pathogen, according to the report of the independent expert group of the World Health Organization on the assessment of pandemic preparedness.
"The report shows that the current system вЂ“ both nationally and internationally вЂ“ was not adequate to protect people from COVID-19. It took too long from reporting a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown origin in mid-to-late December 2019 to declaring a public health emergency of international importance, " the document says.
According to experts, February 2020 was also a lost month, when many more countries could have taken steps to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and prevent a global medical, social, and economic disaster, but did not do so.
"The Expert Group believes that the system as it stands is clearly not designed to prevent the development of a pandemic of another new and highly infectious pathogen that may appear at any time," the report says.
The independent panel of Experts on Pandemic Preparedness and Response was appointed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. in response to the World Health Assembly resolution calling for an independent, impartial and comprehensive review of the experiences and lessons to be learned from the current pandemic.
The review also called for recommendations to improve capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
The group is co-chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sears.