First steps taken to change global rules for disease spread

The amendments were approved at a meeting seen as a unique opportunity for the WHO to step up its role after nearly 15 million deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic.

This progress came after overcoming initial objections last week from Africa and others.

The amendments requested by Washington, supported by other countries such as Japan and the European Union, represent a first step in a broader reform of the global health regulations which define the legal obligations of countries in the event of an epidemic and should take up to two years.

Sheba Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, welcomed the initial amendments and an agreement to form a working group to consider the objective and targeted amendments a “great achievement.”

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