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Deadly flu outbreak could spread in 36 hours and kill 80,000,000 people, experts warn

A deadly airborne disease could spread across the world in just 36 hours (Picture: Reuters)

It could take just 36 hours for an airborne illness to travel around the world and kill 80,000,000 people, experts have warned. Current efforts to prepare for a deadly outbreak are ‘grossly insufficient’, a new report by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) has revealed. Instead, a future pandemic similar to the Spanish flu could spread faster than ever before due to modern advances in international travel, the document said. Entitled ‘A World At Risk’, the report states: ‘The threat of a pandemic spreading around the globe is a real one. ‘A quick-moving pathogen has the potential to kill tens of millions of people, disrupt economies and destabilise national security.’ The report said some governments and agencies had made efforts to prepare for deadly diseases after the devastating Ebola outbreak left over 10,000 people dead between 2014 and 2016.
A map shows the illnesses that have the potential to break out (Picture: Global Preparedness Monitoring Board)
However, it said those efforts were ‘grossly insufficient’, adding that world leaders had ignored many of the recommendations made in an earlier report. It said: ‘Many of the recommendations reviewed were poorly implemented, or not implemented at all, and serious gaps persist. ‘For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides. It is well past time to act.’
The report added that the threat of a ‘rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen’ is ‘very real’. This could kill between 50,000,000 to 80,000,000 people and wipe out nearly five per cent of the world’s economy, it said. It continued: ‘A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity. The world is not prepared.’ Many national health systems, particularly in poorer countries, would collapse as a a result, the research said.
Current preparations for a deadly outbreak are ‘grossly insufficient’, the report said (Picture: AFP)
A global map showing a list of possible illnesses that could spark an outbreak included Ebola, Zika and Nipah viruses, which were all described as ‘newly emerging’. It also listed measles, yellow fever, Dengue, the plague and human monkeypox as ‘re-emerging and re-surging’ diseases. An outbreak of these viruses could be worse than in history due to how often people now travel, the report said.
The GPMB is led by former World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general and past Norwegian prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Alhadj As Sy, the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The experts ended their report by recommending that governments put money aside in preparation for a potential pandemic and called on G7, G20 and G77 states to lead by example. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, current director-general of the WHO, urged world leaders to invest in strengthening health systems and boost funding into technology. He said they need to ‘heed the lessons these outbreaks are teaching us’ and ‘fix the roof before the rain comes’. Earlier this year, the WHO warned that another pandemic of flu is ‘inevitable’, and urged governments to begin their preparation.

Source: metro.co.uk