Friday, May 24, 2024

WHO declares ‘global health emergency’ over

(BBC News) The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that COVID-19 no longer represents a “global health emergency.”

The statement comes three years after it first declared its highest level of alert over the virus.

Officials said the virus’s death rate had dropped from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just more than 3,500 on April 24 of this year.

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

But Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the true figure was “likely” closer to 20 million deaths – nearly three times the official estimate – and he warned that the virus remained a significant threat.

“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 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO. “I’ve accepted that advice. It is therefore with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency.”

He added that the decision had been considered carefully for some time, and made on the basis of careful data analysis.

But he warned the removal of the highest level of alert did not mean the danger was over, and said the emergency status could be reinstated if the situation changed.

“The worst thing any country can do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about,” he said.


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