World may miss May deadline for pandemic accord, WHO head warns


 The head of World Health Organization (WTO) on Monday called on all countries to work urgently towards a pandemic accord, Xinhua reports. 

Countries may fail to come to a legally binding agreement to enhance preparedness for future pandemics by May, WTO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned at the global health agency's Executive Board meeting in Geneva.

"I am gravely concerned that member states may not meet that commitment," he said. "Time is very short, and there are several outstanding issues that remain to be resolved."

Tedros stressed that compromise is needed or no one gets anything.

After COVID-19 claimed more than seven million lives worldwide, the WHO's 194 member states established a process to draft and negotiate an agreement to ensure the world is better-prepared to prevent and tackle future health catastrophes.

"A failure to deliver the pandemic agreement and the IHR (International Health Regulations) amendments will be a missed opportunity for which future generations may not forgive us," Tedros said.

The WHO adopted a tobacco control treaty in 2003, the first global public health accord negotiated under the auspices of the agency.

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