The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response found critical elements to be “slow, cumbersome and indecisive” in an era when information about new disease outbreaks is being transmitted faster than countries can formally report on them.
“When there is a potential health threat, countries and the World Health Organization must further use the 21st century digital tools at their disposal to keep pace with news that spreads instantly on social media and infectious pathogens that spread rapidly through travel”, said Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and co-chair of the panel.
“Detection and alert may have been speedy by the standards of earlier novel pathogens, but viruses move in minutes and hours, rather than in days and weeks.”
‘Lost opportunities’ at the outset
The Independent Panel was established to review lessons learned from international response to COVID-19, which first emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.