"We have the opportunity now to change this, before the next crisis hits, and we must establish a new and sustainable mechanism to finance health security", Harris said at the World Health Organisation's Global Health Summit. "At the country level, we must budget for health security, as we do for national security, ensuring that the actions we take this year are not a one-off. The cost to prepare may seem high, however, the cost of failing to prepare is far higher".
Harris also noted that the world needs a group of leaders who are prepared to act without hesitation at the first warning to stop an outbreak from becoming a catastrophe.
As of Friday, nearly 166 million COVID-19 infections have been detected since the beginning of the pandemic, with over 3.4 million deaths from the disease.