A new pandemic intelligence hub opens its doors in Germany to help governments identify future pandemics at an earlier stage.
The hub was declared by the World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Germany’s Angela Merkel.
The center will also improve monitoring of new variant strains of Covid-19.
The hub will host scientists and policymakers from around the globe on a project-by-project basis.
Furthermore, the center will make it easier for governments to compare notes on emerging infectious diseases. It will pull in additional relevant information on travel patterns, trade routes or human-animal interactions in agriculture.
The WHO sounded its highest level of alarm about the Covid-19 pandemic on 30 January 2020.
But studies have since suggested the coronavirus may have circulated globally at least a month beforehand.
“Covid-19 has highlighted a problem,” said Oliver Morgan, the director of the WHO’s health emergency information and risk assessment department.
“There is a lot of data and public information out there at the moment that we are struggling to make sense of.”
The WHO has earlier expected that another 236,000 people could die from COVID-19 in Europe by December 1.
The health organisation raised the alarm over the rising infections and stagnating vaccine rates on the continent.
“Last week, there was an 11 percent increase in the number of deaths in the region. One reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe, by December 1,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said.
Kluge said the Delta variant was partly to blame, along with an “exaggerated easing” of restrictions and measures and a surge in summer travel.
“In the past six weeks, it has fallen by 14 percent, influenced by a lack of access to vaccines in some countries and a lack of vaccine acceptance in others,” Kluge said, urging countries to “increase production, share doses, and improve access”.
“Vaccine scepticism and science denial is holding us back from stabilising this crisis. It serves no purpose, and is good for no one.”
The warning comes as the WHO and UNICEF urged European countries earlier on Monday to make teachers a priority group for vaccination so schools can stay open throughout the pandemic.