Global solidarity is critical if a pandemic of swine flu is indeed imminent, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, as he made an unscheduled press appearance to lay out the rapid United Nations response to the new threat.
The swine flu outbreak shows yet again that, in our interconnected world, no nation can deal with threats of such dimension on its own, Mr. Ban said, stressing that it is the first test of the pandemic preparedness work the community of nations has been undertaking in the past three years.
Mr. Ban emphasized that the UN system is responding quickly and effectively, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the head of which was in constant contact with him, as well as other senior UN officials.
A WHO emergency committee has been set up as the front line against the deadly new swine influenza A (H1N1) which has broken out in Mexico, the United States, Spain and Canada and is currently meeting to determine the pandemic alert level that should be declared.
Announcing that the World Bank and other UN development and humanitarian agencies will provide funding to countries needing additional resources to combat an epidemic, Mr. Ban declared that the poorer nations must not be hit disproportionately hard by a potential health crisis.
So far, our response has been an example of multilateral cooperation at its best. I am confident that it will continue to be so, he said.