A year after COVID-19 became known worldwide, the World Health Organization warned on Monday that the world could face an even bigger pandemic in the future and that it is not “fully” prepared to deal with the existing outbreak, let alone the next one. 

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies, said the world is now in a better place on behavioral science, vaccines, science, diagnostic science, and other areas.

But, he warned the WHO’s last press conference of the year, “we need to get ready for something that may even be more severe in the future.”

He said the coronavirus pandemic has been severe, spreading rapidly all over the world.

“This is not necessarily the big one. This virus is very transmissible, and kills people, and deprives so many people of loved ones.

“But its current case fatality is reasonably low in comparison to other emerging diseases. This is a wake-up call.”

He spoke as countries began shutting their borders to the UK due to anxieties stemming from a new COVID-19 variant said to be more contagious.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO adviser, said “this virus is telling us we are not prepared… We’re now into second and third waves of this virus, and we’re still not prepared to deal with and manage those.”

“We’re prepared for flu better than we were in the past. We’re now better prepared for coronaviruses. But are we better prepared for the next pandemic?

“It would be folly to say that we’re fully prepared.”

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