COVID-19 no longer constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC), according to a statement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) released on Friday (5 May).
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO). UN Photo / Elma Okic (Creative Commons)
The international body’s director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the press conference announcing this development said that the pandemic had been on a downward trend, with population immunity increasing from vaccinations and infections.
Other signs of COVID-19’s downward trend, the director-general said, included decreasing mortality and easing pressure on health systems.
"It's with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency," said Dr Tedros during a press conference in Geneva.
The significant statement appears more than three years after the outbreak of COVID-19 was classified as a PHEIC on 30 January 2020.
Nevertheless, Dr Tedros warned that lifting the PHEIC classification did not indicate an end to the pandemic itself.
"That does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat. Last week, COVID-19 claimed a life every three minutes." Dr Tedros stated.
Covid-19 virus (Creative Commons)