G7 agrees pact to improve future pandemic responses

The G7 member countries agreed Friday to ramp up their capabilities to fight future pandemics.

“This pandemic will not be the last. We have to take precautions today in order not to be surprised again tomorrow,” German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at a press briefing in Berlin after hosting a meeting of G7 health ministers.

The so-called G7-Pact for Pandemic Readiness should strengthen “early warning systems for effective pandemic prevention,” a statement by the German Ministry of Health said. The aim is to “quickly detect new outbreaks and to effectively contain them.”

According to the pact, the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, in Berlin, will become a center for data exchange and analysis. Additionally, all G7 member countries pledged to increase their WHO contributions by 50 percent in the long run. Experts in the field should also become better trained and connected, according to the statement.

“I am committed to ensuring we are all better prepared against future health threats including another pandemic and antimicrobial resistance,” said the U.K.’s Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid in Berlin. He added that his country is leading the way in terms of living with the coronavirus and welcomed a discussion on “how we all move out of the pandemic.”