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Singapore’s senior minister warns for the next pandemic

Singapore’s Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the next global pandemic might happen at any time. The world has to start preparing for it now.

Tharman told Annette Weisbach at the summit in Italy that we should not be waiting for Covid-19 to be over. According to him, we need to start preparing for the next pandemic. The next pandemic can come at any time. He added that we need to use our current effort to stop Covid. He believes that we need to build up the places required to prevent the next pandemic.

The World Health Organization announced the Covid-19 outbreak of a global pandemic in March last year. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed that coronavirus, detected in China in late-2019, infected more than 187 million people and caused at least 3.9 million deaths worldwide.

On Friday, a G-20 panel of global experts issued a report stating measures to prevent outbreaks and immediately respond to any future pandemic.

Tharman said that these measures include approaching multilateral institutions similar to International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to help fund the fight against a pandemic. Besides, he mentioned better and more reliable funding options for the World Health Organization.

He added that the current international system in responding to a global pandemic is not well-funded and seems fragmented. The Singapore minister said that to fill that gap, the panel suggested setting up a new global fund with a minimum of $10 billion per year.

Tharman said that there are some things lacking today in the global system. He said that we have the World Health Organization and health governance under the World Health Assembly while we do not have a system that brings finance together with health.

In his opinion, that is the reason why the system is underfunded. He added that it reacts after a crisis has broken out and cannot head off future crises.

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