World

WHO says global health emergency due to Covid-19 has ended

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Covid-19 is no longer a “global health emergency”. The declaration represents an important step in ending the pandemic and comes three years after first declaring the highest alert level for the virus. Officials say the virus death rate has fallen from a peak of more than 100,000 people a week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 on April 24.

The head of WHO said at least seven million people have died in the pandemic.

Great expectations

But Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the real toll was “probably” closer to 20 million deaths nearly three times the official estimate and he warned the virus remained a significant threat. “Yesterday, the Emergency Committee met for the 15th time and asked me to declare an end to a public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted this advice.

Therefore, I am with the same hope that I can declare an end to the global health emergency for Covid-19, Dr. Tedros said. He added that the decision had been carefully considered for some time and was made based on careful data analysis. However, he warned that the removal of the highest alert level did not mean the danger was over and said the state of emergency could be restored if the situation changed.

“The worst thing a country can do now is use this news as a reason to let their guard down, dismantle the systems they have built, or send a message to the people that Covid-19 no longer effect. There is nothing to worry about,” he said. The World Health Organization first declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI) in January 2020.

This signals the need for coordinated global action to protect people from the new virus. It is now up to each country to continue to manage Covid as it sees fit.  Vaccines are one of the major turning points of the pandemic. According to WHO, 13 billion doses have been administered, allowing many people to be protected from serious illness and death.

But in many countries, vaccines have yet to reach most of the people who need them. More than 765 million confirmed Covid-19 infections have been recorded worldwide. The US and UK, like many other countries, talked about “living with the virus” and removed many tests and socialization rules.

Dr Mike Ryan of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program said the emergency may be over, but the threat is still there. “We fully expect this virus to continue to spread and that’s the history of the pandemic,” he said. “It took decades for the last pains of the 1918 virus pandemic to subside “In most cases, the pandemic actually ends when the next pandemic begins.”

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