A World Health Organization (WHO)-led Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response roundtable discussion between member states had one panelist call for what appears to be a globalized version of authoritarianism.
Earlier this week, the WHO warned that a new pandemic is imminent, though COVID still remains a deadly threat. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made his fear-mongering comments during a speech on Thursday at the 76th World Health Assembly.
On Monday, Ghebreyesus spoke just before Dr. Abdullah Assiri from Saudi Arabia. Assiri is the Co-chair on the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR).
“The world however requires a different level of legal mandates such as the Pandemic Treaty, to navigate through a particular pandemic, should one occur, and it will,” said Assiri.
“Prioritizing actions that may restrict individual liberties; mandating and sharing of information; knowledge and resources; and most importantly, providing funds for pandemic control efforts, are all necessary during a pandemic.”
“The means to carry out these actions are simply not currently at hand.”
“Pandemic Accord” in the works
Moderator Dame Barbara Stocking also said that the next 6 to 12 months are incredibly important.
She said member states are working on a Pandemic Accord, as well as amendments to International Health Regulations (IHR), and a UN General Assembly political declaration.
“And that of course is quite a bit of work to pull off,” she said.
“It is vital to reach that point next May and speaking as someone from outside the WHO, I would say that all our people across the world actually deserve to have the treaty and other matters in hand then, so we can really make progress.”
Ghebreyesus said that the “high-level meeting on pandemic preparedness and response” is an opportunity to prepare accordingly.
Universal vaccine passports
These comments all follow the White House declaring support for the WHO to facilitate universal vaccine passports. The statement, made on behalf of G20 countries, including Canada, called for “digital and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccinations.”
Ghebreyesus has denied that a Pandemic Treaty would force countries to comply with its regulations, but he’s also threatened sanctions for countries that don’t do so.