UN approves Vietnam suggestion to adopt International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

By Minh Nga   December 7, 2020 | 08:15 pm PT
UN approves Vietnam suggestion to adopt International Day of Epidemic Preparedness
A medical staff arranges samples collected from arrivals for the new coronavirus testing at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, March 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution drafted by Vietnam to declare December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

On Monday, almost a year after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, the 193-member assembly recognized "the need to strengthen epidemic prevention by applying lessons learned on epidemic management and how to prevent the stoppage of basic services, and to raise the level of preparedness in order to have the earliest and most adequate response to any epidemic that may arise."

The resolution was adopted unanimously. Canada, Niger, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Spain co-authored it and 107 countries co-sponsored it.

Vietnam chose the birthday of Louis Pasteur, the French biologist, microbiologist and chemist and one of the most important founders of medical microbiology.

"The pandemic caught us off guard, but it also has served as a wake-up call for improving our preparedness," Vietnam's ambassador to the U.N., Dang Dinh Quy, said as he introduced the resolution.

"We believe that observing an International Day on Epidemic Preparedness will be a prominent way to achieve this goal."

The resolution also invites all member states, U.N. organizations, other global and regional organizations, civil society, academic institutions, individuals, and other stakeholders to observe the day annually through education and awareness-raising activities.

The assembly said without international attention future epidemics could surpass previous outbreaks in terms of intensity and gravity, and emphasized the need to raise awareness, exchange information, scientific knowledge and best practices, ensure quality education, and run advocacy programs on epidemics.

"Given that the General Assembly has previously declared international days devoted to chess, yoga and toilets it only seems fair that epidemics should have their day too," Reuters quoted International Crisis Group U.N. director Richard Gowan as saying.

"A lot of smaller and poorer states worry that they won't have any part in real decisions about the coronavirus vaccine or recovery."

The world is still struggling with the new coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and quickly spread globally.

More than 1.55 million have died of the respiratory disease caused by the virus out of 67.93 million infected. The U.S., India and Brazil have the largest number of cases in the world.

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