India's Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said that the magnitude of the damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic to the world economy is "immense"."About 17 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and more than 662,000 precious lives have been lost worldwide due to this pandemic. The magnitude of the damages caused to the world economy is also immense," said Harsh Vardhan, while presiding over a virtual meeting of the Bureau of the Executive Board of the WHO.He expressed his deepest condolences and concern at the loss of lives due to Covid-19 and offered sincere gratitude for the efforts of those on the frontline.During the meeting, Harsh Vardhan, who is the Chairman of the Executive Board, emphasised that the world has realised the importance of health and need for greater cooperation amongst countries to tackle the risks posed by communicable and non-communicable diseases."In the era of globalisation, when the world is a large home to all humanity, the risk and challenge to spread of a disease is even bigger since it does not distinguish between boundaries of countries."
He also urged the WHO members "to forge multi-sectoral collaboration to mobilise and galvanise global response, support and cooperation to fight communicable and non-communicable diseases more effectively".There is a need to explore innovative ways to address new threats and challenges in the post-pandemic phase, he added. He further stressed on the mutual "need to come together to be more responsive in terms of managing the new challenges being faced so as to ensure a timely, adequate & coordinated global response".The agenda of the meet included finalisation of dates of the 32nd session of the programme, budget and administration committee (PBAC), and resumed sessions of the 73rd World Health Assembly and 147th Executive Board.The Bureau also includes the Vice Chairs of the Executive Board and the Director General of WHO. Observer participants and senior officials of WHO Headquarters were also present.At the outset, Harsh Vardhan welcomed the participants to the first meeting of the Bureau of the Executive Board and wished them well during the ongoing pandemic.