Epidemic Preparedness Day is a day to “respond to the lessons of COVID-19,” as stated by Guterres.

The COVID-19 epidemic had a profound effect on millions of people’s lives and caused extensive destruction. The World Health Organization (WHO) formally declared the public health emergency to be over on May 5, notwithstanding international efforts, but they emphasized that the threat remains worldwide.

Secretary-General Mr. Guterres noted the continued challenges facing global healthcare systems as well as the long-lasting economic harm. The lack of routine immunizations puts the health of millions of children at danger. Three years have passed since vaccines were developed, but billions of people—especially in developing nations—still lack protection.

In addition to emphasizing the need for improved pandemic preparedness, Guterres called for a collaborative effort to draw lessons from the COVID-19 outbreak. He criticized wealthy countries for stockpiling pandemic medical supplies and pushed for universal access to vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. For better virus surveillance, strong health systems, and the achievement of universal health coverage, it is imperative to strengthen WHO’s funding and authority and to foster international cooperation.

In highlighting achievements, Guterres referred to the September High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response, which produced a strong political statement and continued talks toward a pandemic agreement. According to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the objectives of this historic global pact are to improve teamwork, cooperation, and equity in responding to future pandemics.

Guterres emphasized the significance of a comprehensive agreement centered on equity and urged nations to build on this momentum. In his closing remarks, he urged everyone to work together to put the lessons learnt from COVID-19 into practice, promote readiness, and build a more equitable and healthy world for all.