The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared monkeypox a global emergency, as the disease has now spread across more than 70 countries.
The move could lead to increased investment in treating the illness, as it now requires a coordinated global response.
According to Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at Southampton University, the global emergency declaration should have been made weeks ago.
“I think it would be better to be proactive and over-react to the problem instead of waiting to react when it’s too late,” he told the AP news agency.
Figures from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 cases of the viral infection have been reported in 74 countries since May, when the first cases were spotted across non-endemic areas such as North America and Europe.
As of 20 July 2022, 2,162 cases of monkeypox were confirmed in the UK – 2,070 in England, 24 in Wales, 54 in Scotland and 14 in Northern Ireland.