Published On: Fri, May 5th, 2023

COVID-19 no longer qualifies as global emergency: WHO

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation said that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency, marking a symbolic end to the devastating coronavirus pandemic that killed at least 7 million people worldwide.

It’s with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency

Further, the UN health body said that even though the emergency phase was over, the pandemic hasn’t come to an end. It noted that cases are still on rise in Southeast Asia and the Middle East and thousands of people are still dying from the virus every week.

“It’s with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“That does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat,” he said, adding he wouldn’t hesitate to reconvene experts to reassess the situation should COVID-19 “put our world in peril.”

The WHO chief said the pandemic had been on a downward trend for more than a year, noting that most countries have already returned to pre-pandemic life. He said the damage that COVID-19 had done to the global community, saying the virus had shattered businesses and plunged millions into poverty.

“COVID has changed our world and it has changed us,” he said, warning that the risk of new variants still remained.

The UN health agency first declared the coronavirus to be an international crisis on January 30, 2020. Back then, it hadn’t yet been named COVID-19 and there were no major outbreaks beyond China.

The virus spread rapidly and caused an estimated 764 million cases globally in the last three years. About 5 billion people have received at least one dose of vaccine.

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