Singapore’s Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the next pandemic after Covid

Singapore's Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the next pandemic after Covid

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SINGAPORE — The next international pandemic might occur at any time and the world should begin getting ready for it now, stated Singapore’s Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

“We don’t have the luxury of waiting for Covid to be over before we start preparing for the next pandemic, because the next pandemic can come any time,” Tharman informed CNBC’s Annette Weisbach at the G-20 top in Italy.

“So we’ve got to use our current effort to tackle Covid, to also build up the capacities required to head off the next pandemic,” he included.

The World Health Organization stated the Covid-19 break out a worldwide pandemic in March in 2015. The coronavirus — which was very first found in China in late-2019 — has actually contaminated more than 186 million individuals and triggered a minimum of 4 million deaths worldwide, information put together by Johns Hopkins University revealed.

A G-20 panel of international specialists on Friday launched a report proposing steps to avoid break outs and rapidly react to any future pandemic. Tharman co-chairs the panel with previous U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The steps consist of “better and more reliable funding” for the World Health Organization, in addition to tapping multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to assist money the battle versus a pandemic, stated Tharman.

He included that the existing global system to react to a worldwide pandemic is “fragmented” and “under-funded.” To plug that space, the panel proposed establishing a brand-new international fund with a minimum $10 billion a year, stated the Singapore minister.

“What’s lacking today in the global system, you’ve got health governance under the World Health Assembly and the WHO, you don’t have a system that brings finance together with health,” Tharman stated.

“And that’s why the system is under-funded. It reacts after the event, after a crisis has broken out and unable to proactively head off future crises,” he included.

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