|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM RESPONDING ‘QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY’ TO SWINE FLU OUTBREAK,
SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN REMARKS TO PRESS
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the press on swine flu, in New York on 27 April:
During the last few days, as you know, we have seen the appearance of a new influenza virus.
It has been confirmed in the United States, Mexico and Canada and is suspected to have moved to other countries.
We are concerned that this virus could cause a new influenza pandemic. It could be mild, in its effects, or potentially be severe.
We do not yet know which way it will go. But we are concerned that, in Mexico, most of those who died were young and healthy adults.
This will be a first test of the pandemic preparedness work the community of nations has undertaken in the last three years.
The United Nations system is responding, quickly and effectively, with the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, taking the lead.
I have been in constant contact with Dr. Chan and other senior United Nations officials over the weekend.
Dr. Chan informs me that she has activated the Strategic Operations Centre at WHO. That includes convening the Emergency Committee, created under the revised International Health Regulations in 2005, which met over the weekend.
It will meet again later today to decide whether WHO should raise its pandemic alert from Phase 3.
If we are indeed facing a pandemic, we need to demonstrate global solidarity.
The swine flu outbreak shows yet again that, in our interconnected world, no nation can deal with threats of such dimension on its own.
Poorer nations are especially vulnerable. They have been hit hard by other crises this year: food, energy, the global economy, climate change. We must ensure that they are not also hit disproportionately hard by a potential health crisis.
The World Bank and other United Nations development and humanitarian agencies will, therefore, mobilize to ensure that countries needing additional financial resources to combat an epidemic will have them.
I will continue to be in close consultation with senior United Nations officials and, through Dr. Chan, with affected Governments, international health officials and international organizations such as the International Red Cross to provide any and all assistance that might be required.
So far, our response has been an example of multilateral cooperation at its best.
I am confident that it will continue to be so.
Thank you very much for your support.
* *** *For information media • not an official record