The United Nations is commemorating the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on Sunday, underscoring the need to learn lessons from the coronavirus pandemic, and urging greater solidarity within and among countries, to deal with future health emergencies.
“This first observance of the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness falls at the end of a year in which a scenario many had feared came tragically true … As we strive to control and recover from the current pandemic, we must think about the next,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message.
He also highlighted the need for strong health systems and social protection, support for communities on the frontlines, and technical cooperation for countries.
“Across this work, science must be our guide. Solidarity and coordination are crucial, within and among countries; no one is safe unless all of us are safe,” the Secretary-General added.
Mr Guterres also honoured medical professionals, front-line personnel and essential workers globally for their “remarkable commitment” in face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we recover from the pandemic, let us resolve to build up our prevention capacities so that we are ready when the world faces the next outbreak,” he urged.
Similarly, Volkan Bozkir, President of the General Assembly, underscored that the “devastating experience” of the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, the benefits of tackling epidemics.