COVID no longer a global health emergency, says World Health Organization | UK News

World Health Organization (WHO) officials have declared COVID no longer a global health emergency, marking a symbolic end to the pandemic.

“It is with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “That doesn’t mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat.”

“COVID-19 has changed our world and it has changed us,” he said, warning that the risk of new variants remained.

The pandemic has been on a downward trend for more than a year, he said, acknowledging that most countries have already come back to life before COVID

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Mr. Adhanom Ghebreyesus also highlighted the damage COVID had caused to the global community, saying the virus had destroyed businesses and pushed millions into poverty.

The WHO made its decision to lower its highest alert level after convening a panel of experts on Thursday. The UN agency does not “declare” pandemics, but first used the term to describe the outbreak in March 2020, long after many other scientists said a pandemic was already underway.

In May last year, WHO experts said the end of the pandemic was “insight”publishing guidance notes for governments to follow on infection control, testing, vaccination and misinformation.

Last month, the NHS COVID app was extinct and will be completely discontinued on May 16.

COVID may no longer be a global health emergency, but the virus has not gone away

Tom Clark

Scientific and technical writer


The declaration that COVID is no longer a global health emergency is a historic moment.

It can be seen as an official declaration of the end of a pandemic which in three years has killed nearly seven million people worldwide and sickened billions.

In itself, this is a bureaucratic step. When the WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI), it requires countries to officially report statistics, take action to protect citizens and travelers, and monitor the virus.

For many countries, such as the UK, the decision will make little difference to what we were doing anyway.

But in places where health systems are under-resourced, it could free up capacity to deal with other major disease threats, including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, which have continued throughout the pandemic – 650 000 people alone died of HIV in 2021.

COVID may no longer be a global health emergency, but the virus hasn’t faded into the background

In the same month, the Office for National Statistics said COVID was no longer a leading cause of death in England and Wales.

Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “

“The World Health Organization’s decision to end COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI) is due to effective vaccinations and treatments that have significantly reduced the risk of severe disease. and deaths from infection worldwide.

“Through these health interventions, we have already moved to living with Covid-19 in England, but we continue to monitor the virus through our range of surveillance systems and genomic capabilities and we stand ready to respond if the risk increases. in the future. ‘

COVID was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, triggering lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world.

There have been more than six million COVID-related deaths worldwide since then.

The virus has caused around 764 million cases worldwide and around five billion people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.


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