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WHO begins special session amid concerns over Omicron


(Al Jazeera) A three-day special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) has kicked off to discuss pandemic preparedness and response, amid concerns over the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The WHA normally meets in May but a special session was called for in a decision adopted by the World Health Organization member states. The special session was the second in the 73-year history of the WHO.

Representatives of WHO’s 194 member states will hold talks on new international rules for handling future outbreaks.

A draft resolution currently under review stops short of calling for the establishment of a “pandemic treaty” or a “legally binding instrument”, which proponents say would beef up the international response to pandemics.

The WHO has warned against countries hastily imposing travel curbs. However, bans have been introduced in recent days, with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States among those to impose restrictions on arrivals from mostly Southern African nations.


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