Recommendations for action to curb the COVID-19 pandemic

TheIndependentPanel: Main Report In May 2021, the Independent Panel presented its findings and recommendations for action to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that any future infectious disease outbreak does not become another catastrophic pandemic.

This is the culmination of eight months of work. Beginning in September 2020, the Independent Panel systematically, rigorously and comprehensively examined why COVID-19 became a global health and socio-economic crisis. 

On this page you will find the main report, a summary and a companion evidence-based narrative report, video presentations of the report and news conference, and a sample of global reactions to the Panel’s report.

The main report and many links are here:

The Panel’s key findings are here:

The initial outbreak became a pandemic as a result of gaps and failings at every critical juncture of preparedness for, and response to, COVID-19:
• Years of warnings of an inevitable pandemic threat were not acted on and there was inadequate funding and stress testing of preparedness, despite the increasing rate at which zoonotic diseases are emerging.
• Clinicians in Wuhan, China, were quick to spot unusual clusters of pneumonia of unknown origin in late December 2019. The formal notification and emergency declaration procedures under the International Health Regulations, however, were much too slow to
generate the rapid and precautionary response required to counter a fast-moving new respiratory pathogen. Valuable time was lost.
• Then, for the month following the declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020, too many countries took a ‘wait and see’ approach rather than enacting an aggressive containment strategy that could have forestalled the global pandemic. As COVID-19 spread into more countries, neither national nor international systems managed to meet the initial and urgent demands for supplies. Countries with delayed responses were also characterized by a lack of coordination, inconsistent or non-existent strategies, and the devaluing of science in guiding decision-making.
• Coordinated, global leadership was absent. Global tensions undermined multilateral institutions and cooperative action.
• Preparedness was under-funded and response funding was too slow. Dedicated financing at the scale required was not available to supply medical equipment, kick-start the search for diagnostics and therapeutics, or ensure vaccines would be available to all. International
financing was too little, too late.
• WHO staff worked extremely hard to provide advice and guidance, and support to countries, but Member States had underpowered the agency to do the job demanded of it.
• The lack of planning and gaps in social protection have resulted in the pandemic widening inequalities with a disproportionate socioeconomic impact on women and vulnerable and marginalized populations, including migrants and workers in the informal sector.
Health impacts have been compounded for people with underlying health conditions. Education for millions of the most disadvantaged children has been terminated early by the pandemic.

The Panel calls for these immediate actions to end the COVID-19 pandemic:

High income countries with a vaccine pipeline for adequate coverage should, alongside their own scale up, commit to provide to the 92 low- and middle income countries of the COVAX Gavi Advance Market Commitment at least one billion vaccine doses no later than 1 September 2021 and more than two billion doses by mid-2022.
• The World Trade Organization (WTO) and WHO should convene major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfer for COVID-19 vaccines. If actions do not occur within three months, a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights should come into force immediately.
• G7 countries should immediately commit to provide 60% of the US$19 billion required for ACT-A in 2021 for vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and strengthening of health systems, with the remainder being mobilised by others in the G20 and other high-income countries, and a formula based on ability to pay should be adopted to fund such global public goods on an ongoing basis.
• Every country should apply non-pharmaceutical public health measures systematically and rigorously at the scale the epidemiological situation requires, with an explicit evidence-based strategy agreed at the highest level of government to curb COVID-19 transmission.
• WHO to immediately develop a roadmap with clear goals, targets, and milestones to guide and monitor the implementation of country and global efforts towards ending the pandemic.