States must learn the lessons of the Covid crisis.
It is in this sense that the head of the WHO on Monday called on nations to establish an agreement on pandemics so that future generations are better equipped to fight them.
"All of this will happen again unless you, the nations of the world, come together to say with one voice: Never again!"
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the opening of the World Health Assembly meeting.
This decision-making body of the World Health Organization exceptionally brings together its 194 members.
WHO members agreed on Sunday to launch negotiations to create an international instrument to better prevent and combat pandemics.
During the meeting, which should last three days, they must officially validate this draft agreement.
"The time has come to rise above this pandemic and leave a legacy for the generations that will follow us," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"The world needs a new deal"
"The emergence of Omicron is another reminder that the Covid is not done with us," he continued, noting that the world should not need "another reminder to the order ”.
The new variant "shows why the world needs a new deal," he said.
The draft agreement on which WHO members informally agreed on Sunday provides for the creation of "an intergovernmental body" to draft and negotiate "a convention, agreement or other international instrument of the WHO on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response ”.
An interim report is expected in May 2023. The result should be on the table for the World Health Assembly in May 2024.
'Omicron' variant causes concern worldwide
Detected in South Africa, the Omicron variant has an exceptionally large number of mutations and these concentrate on one part, the “Spike” protein, which is the key to the virus entering the body.
These genetic characteristics give rise to fears, on a theoretical level, that this variant is more contagious and is more resistant to vaccines than its predecessors.
While the data we have are still insufficient, many countries (Japan, Israel, Morocco, etc.) have already taken extra care in closing their borders.