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COVID no longer global health emergency, WHO declares

COVID no longer global health emergency, WHO declares
May 05
15:34 2023

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency.

The organisation on January 20, 2020, had declared COVID a public health emergency of international concern — the highest level of alarm under international law.

Speaking at a media conference on Friday, Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said the global health body’s international health regulations emergency committee made the decision at its 15th meeting on Thursday.

The director-general said for more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend, with population immunity increasing, mortality decreasing and the pressure on health systems easing.


“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before COVID-19,” he said.

“For the past year, the emergency committee – and WHO – have been analysing the data carefully and considering when the time would be right to lower the level of alarm.

“Yesterday, the emergency committee met for the 15th time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice.


“It is therefore with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency.”

Ghebreyesus, however, warned that the declaration did not mean COVID was over as a global health threat, adding that the virus claimed a life every three minutes in the previous week.

“As we speak, thousands of people around the world are fighting for their lives in intensive care units,” he said.

“And millions more continue to live with the debilitating effects of post-COVID-19 condition.


“This virus is here to stay. It is still killing, and it’s still changing. The risk remains of new variants emerging that cause new surges in cases and deaths.

“The worst thing any country could do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about.

“What this news means is that it is time for countries to transition from emergency mode to managing COVID-19 alongside other infectious diseases.”


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