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Response Too Slow, Cautious

A new report from an independent panel says the global response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic was too muted, Nature News reports.

It adds that during the annual World Health Assembly last year, a number of countries called on the World Health Organization to commission a review of the global pandemic response. The resulting report from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response says the WHO was too slow in announcing a 'public health emergency of international concern,' and that had it and countries around the world moved more swiftly, the pandemic could have been averted.

"It's a frank assessment of literally systematic failure in the COVID response at every level, from WHO down to country level," Georgetown University's Lawrence Gostin says of the report at Science.

The report additionally offers recommendations to handle future pandemics, Nature News adds. For instance, it calls for the establishment of a Global Health Threats Council outside the WHO that's made up of world leaders to encourage governments to prepare for and respond to such threats. It further suggests establishing an International Pandemic Financing Facility to fund pandemic preparedness.