New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday termed the COVID-19 pandemic as ‘a wakeup call’ and urged the world to get “serious” about preparedness. The UN health agency said that the novel coronavirus has had a devastating impact around the globe killing nearly 1.8 million people around the world and infecting over 80 million, but there might be worse pandemics in the future and hence the world must remain prepared. Also Read - Massive Vaccination Drive To Start On January 16, Know How Coronavirus Vaccines Transported, Stored

During a media briefing marking a year since the UN agency first learned of the new virus spreading in China, WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan said, “This is a wakeup call.” Also Read - Delhi Vaccination Drive to be Held at 81 Centres, Four Days a Week: CM Arvind Kejriwal

“This pandemic has been very severe. It has spread around the world extremely quickly and it has affected every corner of this planet, but this is not necessarily the big one,” he said. Also Read - If Muslims Don't Trust India, They Can Go To Pakistan, Says BJP's Sangeet Som

As per news agency AFP, Ryan stressed that while the virus is “very transmissible, and it kills people… its current case fatality (rate) is reasonably low in comparison to other emerging diseases.”

“We need to get ready for something that may even be more severe in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, WHO senior advisor Bruce Aylward also cautioned that while the world had made huge scientific progress to address the coronavirus crisis, including developing vaccines at record speed, it remained far from prepared to ward off future pandemics.

“We are into second and third waves of this virus and we are still not prepared to deal with and manage those. So while we are better prepared… we are not fully prepared for this one, let alone the next one,” he told the briefing.

Speaking on the matter, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also voiced hope saying the Covid-19 pandemic had helped the world become more prepared to tackle future threats.