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News > World

WHO: End of International Health Emergency for COVID-19

  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. May. 5, 2023.

    WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. May. 5, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@M_Jeffnaldo

Published 5 May 2023

WHO first issued its highest level of alert for COVID-19 on January 30, 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Friday that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

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The day before, "the COVID-19 Emergency Committee met for the 15th time and recommended that I declare the end of the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said via Twitter. 

WHO first issued COVID-19 its highest level of alert on January 30, 2020. Since then, global health experts have renewed it every three months.

According to Adhanom, "for more than a year now, the pandemic has been on a downward trend, with an increase in population immunity from vaccination and infection, a decrease in mortality and a decrease in pressure on health systems."

However, this decision "does not mean that COVID-19 has ceased to be a threat to global health," the WHO official told a press conference in Geneva. "Last week, COVID-19 claimed one life every three minutes, and that's just the deaths we know about."

"It continues to kill, and it continues to change. There is still a risk of new variants emerging that will cause new spikes in cases and deaths," Adhanom said.

He stressed the need to take as an experience the long road traveled so far, more than three years after the declaration of the virus as a global emergency.

"This experience must change us all for the better. It must make us more determined to fulfill the vision that nations had when they founded WHO in 1948: the highest attainable standard of health, for all people," the WHO chief said. 

The latest WHO report, released last Friday, indicates that 30% fewer people died with the disease than in the previous four-week period.

According to the WHO Coronavirus Scorecard, cumulative cases worldwide since the start of the pandemic now total 765,222,932, with a death toll of 6,921,614.

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