WHO will quickly send investigators to potential pandemic outbreaks, publish findings promptly

Member governments will lead new "Global Health Threats Council" to maintain political support.
World Health Organization headquarters

Health ministers of the World Health Organization agreed Monday to study recommendations by independent experts to strengthen its ability to contain new pathogens, after the U.N. agency's poor performance on COVID-19.

The resolution tasks WHO's 194 member states to lead the reforms over the next year, Reuters reports.

They include creating a new global system to respond more quickly to future outbreaks, under which WHO would send investigators to chase down disease outbreaks and publish their findings promptly. Another reform would create a Global Health Threats Council that commits each government to maintain political support for pandemic preparedness.

"We need to turn that very thing that has exposed us in this pandemic, our interconnectedness, we need to turn that into a strength," emergencies director Mike Ryan told the annual ministerial assembly.

Health ministers will consider creating an international treaty to improve defenses against future pandemics at a November meeting.