Angela Merkel receives World Health award

The chancellor took a blushing approach to high praise heaped on her by Ghebreyesus, thanking him for the 'heavy' medal and saying that there was still much to be done.

At the opening of the hub, Merkel said: "We want to be better armed for future pandemics and epidemics... if I am honest it wasn't really clear to me that a pandemic could hit Europe one day. At the time we were working on the basis of this not coming to Europe but now we have experienced it first hand and must learn our lessons from it."

The hub will serve as a collecting point for all available information on viruses. The data will then be analysed for use in the global fight against pandemics.

Merkel praised Berlin as a location for a hub alongside the Charite hospital and Robert Koch Institute.

The hub and its work will, according to the Berlin Senate, be given 30 million euros funding as a token of German support for the World Health Organisation.

"We must work together and above all we need to understand that it isn't enough if one country is vaccinated. Everyone has to be vaccinated to stop all the mutations preventing us from finding a way out of the pandemic. The pandemic also showed me how much we need the WHO. It is the body for global health and needs solid and reliable financing," said.

The hub offers: "a bit of hope in these sometimes difficult times," she added.

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