LONDON (AP) – As the World Health Organization (WHO) convenes its emergency committee yesterday to consider if the spiralling outbreak of monkeypox warrants being declared a global emergency, some experts said WHO’s decision to act only after the disease spilled into the West could entrench the grotesque inequities that arose between rich and poor countries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Declaring monkeypox to be a global emergency would mean WHO considers the outbreak to be an “extraordinary event” and is at risk of spreading across more borders.
It would also give monkeypox the same distinction as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.
Many scientists doubt any such declaration would help to curb the epidemic, since the developed countries recording the most recent cases are already moving quickly to shut it down.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus described the recent monkeypox epidemic identified in more than 40 countries, mostly in Europe, as “unusual and concerning”.