The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic no longer a global health emergency on Friday.
“The Emergency Committee met for the 15th time yesterday and recommended that I declare an end to the international public health emergency.” “I have accepted that advice,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said during a press conference.
“It is, therefore, with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” Ghebreyesus added.
However, this does not imply COVID-19 is no longer a global health danger, he said, adding that last week the virus claimed “a life every three minutes – and that’s just the deaths we know about.”
“This infection is not going away. It is still murdering people and changing. “The risk of new variants emerging that cause new surges in cases and deaths remains,” he cautioned, advising countries not to “let down their guard, dismantle the systems put in place, or send the message to people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about.”
This announcement, he continued, indicates that governments must shift from emergency mode to controlling COVID-19 alongside other infectious diseases.
The WHO chief stressed that this was not a “snap” decision, saying, “If necessary, I will not hesitate to convene another Emergency Committee should COVID-19 once again put our world in danger.”
According to the WHO, COVID-19 infection has caused approximately 7 million fatalities since the pandemic began in December 2019.
The WHO has also documented 765.3 million cases of the disease.
On January 30, 2020, the pandemic was labeled a public health emergency of worldwide concern.