WHO declares end of COVID-19 global public health emergency

May 5 2023, 3:07 pm

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“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,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday morning.

“I have accepted that advice,” he added.

In a follow-up tweet, WHO said this does not mean COVID-19 is no longer a global health threat.

Last week, COVID-19 claimed a life every three minutes – and that’s just the deaths we know about,” Ghebreyesus said in a press conference broadcast on Twitter. “This virus is here to stay. It’s killing, and it’s still changing. The risk remains of new variants emerging that cause new surges in cases and deaths.”

WHO also said that this was not a snap decision, and it had been “considered carefully” for some time, planned for, and made on the basis of a “careful analysis of data.”

COVID-19 public health emergencies have been in place since early 2020.

The WHO Emergency Committee working on COVID-19 will cease its work but wants to send a “clear message” that other countries should not stop their efforts.

On the committee’s advice, Ghebreyesus has decided to use a never-before-used Internation Health Regulations provision to establish a “review Committee.”

This one will help develop long-term, standing recommendations for countries on how to manage COVID-19 on an ongoing basis.

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