The World Health Organization has said COVID-19 is no longer a global public health emergency.
A statement on Friday stated that the decision was reached at WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee held Thursday at its 15th meeting on the pandemic.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also agreed with the committee’s resolution that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
“For more than a year the pandemic has been on a downward trend,” Tedros said at a news conference Friday.
“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19. 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 have accepted that advice,” he said.
The global health body had declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020, about six weeks before characterizing it as a pandemic.
At the time, there were fewer than 10,000 cases of the virus, most of them in China.
The statement further read, “WHO declares a PHEIC when an emergency is ‘serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected’, with implications for health beyond the affected state’s national borders – and the status helps trigger a set of measures and legally binding obligations that facilitate a coordinated international response.
“Lack of PHEIC status does not mean COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic: the DG noted that this news does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat.
“Several PHEICs have not been related to pandemics, and several sustained epidemics or ‘pandemics’ have not been assigned PHEIC status.”