COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, marking a symbolic end to the pandemic, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said.
“It is with high hope that I declare COVID-19 a global health emergency,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “This does not mean that COVID-19 is over as a global health threat.”
“COVID-19 has changed our world and ourselves,” he said, warning that the risk of new variants remains.
The epidemic has been on a downward trend for more than a year, he said, acknowledging that most countries were back to life before COVID
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Mr Adhanom Ghebreyesus also highlighted the damage COVID has done to the international community, saying the virus has destroyed businesses and impoverished millions.
The WHO decided to lower its highest alert level following an expert group meeting on Thursday. The U.N. agency did not “declare” a pandemic, but first used the term to describe an outbreak in March 2020, long after many other scientists said it had begun.
Last May, WHO experts said the end of the pandemic was “insight”issued a policy brief for the government to follow up on infection control, testing, vaccination and misinformation.
Last month the NHS COVID app was turn off It will be completely discontinued on May 16th.
COVID may no longer be a global health emergency, but the virus isn’t gone
Declaring that COVID is no longer a global health emergency is a historic moment.
It could be seen as a formal declaration of the end of a pandemic that has killed nearly seven million people and sickened billions worldwide in three years.
This in itself is a bureaucratic step. When the World Health Organization declares a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), it requires countries to officially report statistics, take steps to protect citizens and travelers, and monitor the virus.
For many countries, such as the UK, the decision has little impact on what we do.
But where the healthcare system is under-resourced, it can free up capacity to deal with other major disease threats, including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, which persist throughout the pandemic – with 650,000 deaths in 2021 alone HIV.
In the same month, the ONS said COVID was no longer the number one cause of death in England and Wales.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser to HSA, said:
“The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), thanks to effective vaccination and treatments that have significantly reduced the incidence of severe disease and risk of death.
“As a result of these health interventions we have transitioned to living with Covid-19 in England, but we will continue to monitor the virus through our range of surveillance systems and genomics capabilities, and stand ready to respond if risk increases in the future. “‘
COVID was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, triggering lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world.
Since then, there have been more than 6 million COVID-related deaths worldwide.
The virus has caused about 764 million cases worldwide and about 5 billion people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.