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Coronavirus: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom feared a pandemic just five months ago

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), gives a statement to the media about the response to the COVID-19 virus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), gives a statement to the media about the response to the COVID-19 virus Copyright Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP
Copyright Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP
By Euronews
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The director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the world wasn't ready for a pandemic.

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Well, you can't say he didn't warn us.

Speaking to Euronews last year, global health chief Tedros Adhanom said the world was not ready for a pandemic.

A few short months later and the world has one.

Adhanom, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said global health authorities needed investment if the world was to see off a pandemic.

"The world should invest in health system strengthening and fixing the roof before the rain comes," he said. 

"Half of the world's population don't have access to essential health services, and 100 million descend into poverty because of out-of-pocket payments."

He referenced the flu pandemic of 1917 and 1918, which killed around 100 million people, and warned that the world was "very vulnerable" to an airborne pandemic.

"Countries with weak health systems impact the whole world," he added.

"We are only as strong as the weakest link. We need to invest in preparedness, in solidarity, so that the whole world is prepared."

The coronavirus has spread from China to 114 countries worldwide, including Italy, which has been put on lockdown after a surge of cases. The WHO classified the coronavirus as a pandemic at a press conference in Switzerland on Wednesday.

This was Tedros Adhanom saying COVID-19 was a pandemic on Wednesday, 11 March:

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