World must be better prepared for next pandemic, WHO says

A sign reads, “Everyone is required to wear a mask” at the entrance to Playland’s Castaway Cove as the state of New Jersey continues Stage 2 of re-opening.

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The head of the World Health Organisation has called on countries to invest in their public health systems, as he stressed that the world must be better prepared for the next pandemic.

“This will not be the last pandemic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference Monday, “but when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready, more ready than it was this time.”

He said too many countries had neglected their basic public health systems in recent years and called on governments to “invest in public health as an investment in a healthier and safer future.”

“Public health is the foundation of social, economic and political stability. That means investing in population-based services for preventing, detecting and responding to diseases,” he said. “I call on all countries to invest in public health, and especially primary health care.”

Publishing its latest weekly statistics Monday, the WHO said that, cumulatively, nearly 27 million Covid-19 cases and 900,000 deaths had been reported to the organization to date. A tally by Johns Hopkins University puts the number of coronavirus cases to date at 27.3 million and the number of deaths at 892,714.

Over 1.8 million new cases and 37,000 new deaths were reported during the week ending Sept. 6, the WHO said Monday, marking a 5% increase in the number of cases and a 2% decrease in the number of deaths compared to the week before.

The WHO said the Southeast Asia region continued to show the highest increase in new coronavirus cases in the past week, compared to the previous week, with over 600,000 new cases reported.

An increase in the number of new reported cases was also seen in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, but both new cases and deaths declined in the African and Western Pacific regions compared with the previous week.

The WHO said that reported cases in the Americas rose 1%, and deaths fell 4%, but it added that the region “continues to carry the highest burden of the disease globally, accounting for nearly half of all new cases reported in the past seven days.”

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