WHO declares the end of the international emergency for COVID-19

MIAMI, United States. – The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this Friday that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is no longer an international public emergency. However, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus warned that this does not mean that COVID-19 has ceased to be a threat to public health.

In fact, in the past week, the disease has claimed a life every three minutes and thousands of people continue to be admitted to intensive care units, according to data from the WHO itself.

The WHO Emergency Committee declared an end to the public health emergency that began on January 30, 2020. Fewer than 100 cases and no deaths had been reported outside of China at that time. Since then, COVID-19 has caused almost 7 million reported deaths, but the actual number of victims is estimated to be several times higher, reaching at least 20 million.

The pandemic has severely affected health systems, the economy, and social life, causing economic disruption, border and school closures, and increasing loneliness, isolation, anxiety, and depression for millions of people. “COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the most pressing political divisions and inequities in our world,” Tedros said.

However, the pandemic has followed a downward trend for more than a year, thanks to increased population immunity, decreased mortality, and reduced pressure on health systems. “This trend has allowed most countries to return to the life they knew before COVID-19,” the WHO director-general observed.

After careful analysis of the data, the Emergency Committee recommended declaring an end to the public health emergency of international concern. Despite this decision, Tedros urged countries not to lower their guard, since the virus continues to kill and change, and there is a risk of new variants that cause new spikes in cases and deaths.

The WHO director explained that the time has come for countries to move from emergency mode to managing COVID-19 along with other infectious diseases. If COVID-19 endangers the world again, he will not hesitate to convene another Emergency Committee.

The UN agency has published the fourth edition of the Global Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response to COVID-19, which describes essential measures in five basic areas: collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and emergency coordination.

Tedros expressed his gratitude to the members of the Emergency Committee and his colleagues at WHO for their dedication and effort in fighting the pandemic for more than three years.

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