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Intensive global health meetings . and agreement on an international treaty to tackle epidemics

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The 3-day meetings of the World Health Organization to discuss the developments of the new mutated Omicron Crown are expected to begin today in Geneva.

Diplomats said on Sunday that member states of the World Health Organization reached a preliminary agreement to negotiate a future treaty to tackle the epidemics, after narrowing the gap between two parties led by the European Union and the United States.

Diplomats added that the draft resolution, reached in negotiations over the weekend, will be presented to health ministers for adoption at the World Health Organization’s three-day special meeting starting today.

The diplomatic breakthrough came amid growing international concern over the new mutated coronavirus “Omicron”, which was detected for the first time in South Africa this month and continues to spread in Worldwide.

Passengers wait to be tested for COVID-19 at Johannesburg Airport in South Africa, where Omicron was first taken over

The International Treaty to Strengthen Prevention and Improve Outbreak Response is expected to be ready by May 2024 and will cover issues such as data exchange and genome sequencing of emerging viruses and any vaccines and drugs resulting from medical research.

Simon Manley, British ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said in a note: “This decision to establish a negotiating body for a future pandemic deal may just be the end of the start, but the apparent flexibility and breadth of support is a good indication of future efforts.”

The headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva (archive)

Britain, along with the European Union and some 70 other countries, lobbied for a legally binding treaty. Diplomats said last week that the US, backed by countries including Brazil and India, was reluctant to commit in a binding treaty.

A European diplomat said: “A very satisfactory text has been agreed for us. It also gives the Americans one via exit “from the crisis with the Europeans on the text.

Another diplomat said: “It’s a good result. There was a lot of good will to find a common language.”

A draft of this decision has been posted on the site web of the WHO.

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