The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, although it remains a global health threat.
The announcement came after WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met for the 15th time to discuss the pandemic.
Each country declares its own public health emergency, and a PHEIC creates an agreement between countries to abide by WHO’s recommendations for managing the emergency. Covid-19 cases and deaths are about the lowest they’ve been in three years, and the pandemic has been on a downward trend for more than a year. Despite this, the virus continues to spread, evolve and remains a global health threat at a lower level of concern.
The disease is “here to stay” and will continue to cause waves, according to Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, warned that if there is a significant rise in Covid-19 cases or deaths in the future, he would not hesitate to convene another emergency committee meeting and declare a global health emergency again. He urged for better preparation for pandemics, stating that “one of the greatest tragedies of Covid-19 is that it didn’t have to be this way”.
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