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WHO Declares COVID-19 No Longer A Global Health Emergency

Swarajya Staff

May 06, 2023, 12:45 AM | Updated 12:45 AM IST

Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization
Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is no longer a worldwide health emergency, marking a significant step towards ending the pandemic, which has caused the deaths of over 6.9 million individuals, disrupted the worldwide economy, and decimated communities.

The WHO's Emergency Committee suggests the cessation of the international public health emergency that has been enforced for three years.

"It is therefore with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, but he cautioned that it is still a worldwide health threat.

On 30 January 2020, the WHO's emergency committee declared COVID as the highest level of alert. The status enhances collaboration on vaccines and treatments while bringing global attention to the health threat.

"COVID has changed the world, and it has changed us. And that's the way it should be. If we go back to how things were before COVID-19, we will have failed to learn our lessons, and failed our future generations," said Ghebreyesus.

Deaths have decreased significantly, dropping from over 100k per week in Jan 2021 to 3,500 in Apr 2023, as per WHO data.

Like some other countries, the United States has started to lift its domestic state of emergency measures for COVID-19, resulting in an end to vaccine subsidies and other aids.

The European Union declared an end to the pandemic's emergency phase in April last year, while the WHO's African chief, Matshidiso Moeti, stated in December that it was time for COVID to be managed routinely throughout the continent.

Ending the emergency may result in international collaboration and funding efforts coming to an end or shifting focus. However, it is worth noting that many organisations have already adjusted their strategies as the pandemic's impact has receded in various regions.

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