23 countries and the WHO are calling for a treaty to prepare the world for future pandemics

Brazil coronavirus
Relatives of Neide Rodrigues, 71, who died of COVID-19, mourn in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 23 world leaders and the head of the WHO want a treaty to prepare for future pandemics.
  • This would help with information sharing, vaccines and medicines access, they said.
  • Formal negotiations for such a treaty have not happened, but the leaders wrote a joint opinion piece.
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The leaders of 23 countries and the World Health Organization are calling for a global treaty to prepare the world for future pandemics.

The treaty would be aimed at countries sharing helpful information as well as ensuring universal vaccine access and medicines, Reuters reported.

Diplomats told Reuters that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, has endorsed the idea.

Formal negotiations to actually create such a treaty hasn't started, Reuters reported, but the heads of 23 countries have cosigned a joint opinion piece published in major newspapers saying that they supported its creation.

"There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies," they said in the letter, which you can read here. "No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone."

"We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response."

The leaders of China and the US, Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, did not sign the joint letter, but Reuters reported the WHO as saying that they had reacted positively to the idea.

China, where the virus was first detected, has been widely criticized for its early pandemic response. The WHO says the virus' origin is still unclear, though it likely jumped from animals to humans.

It was signed by the heads of of Fiji, Portugal, Romania, Britain, Rwanda, Kenya, France, Germany, Greece, Korea, Chile, Costa Rica, Albania, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Spain, Norway, Serbia, Indonesia, and Ukraine, as well as the WHO.

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