WHO declares end to Covid-19 global health emergency, but warns of ongoing threat
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that Covid-19 no longer qualifies as a global health emergency, marking a significant milestone towards the pandemic's end.
This virus has taken a devastating toll worldwide, causing over 6.9 million deaths, disrupting the global economy, and devastating communities.
The WHO's Emergency Committee has recommended that the Director-General declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern, a status that focuses international attention on a health threat and strengthens collaboration on vaccines and treatments.
Although this step is indicative of progress in these areas, the WHO has stated that Covid-19 is still a global health threat, and the virus will remain present even after lifting the emergency status.
The death rate has decreased considerably from the peak of over 100,000 weekly deaths in January 2021 to just over 3,500 weekly deaths by April 24, 2023, as per WHO data.
Despite this progress, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that Covid-19 remains a health threat worldwide. The WHO does not declare the beginning or end of pandemics, though it began using the term for Covid in March 2020.
"Yesterday, the Emergency Committee met for the 15th time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I've accepted that advice. It's therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Some countries, including the United States, have started to discontinue their domestic state of emergency for Covid, which means they will no longer pay for items such as vaccines.