Covid-19 no longer represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday, a major step towards the end of the pandemic that has killed more than 6.9 million people, disrupted the global economy and ravaged communities.
The WHO’s Emergency Committee met on Thursday and recommended the UN-agency declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern, which has been in place for over three years.
“It is therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding the end of the emergency did not mean Covid was over as a global health threat.
The WHO’s emergency committee first declared that Covid represented its highest level of alert more than three years ago, on January 30, 2020. The status helps focus international attention on a health threat, as well as bolster collaboration on vaccines and treatments.
Lifting it is a sign of the progress the world has made in these areas, but Covid-19 is here to stay, the WHO has said, even if it no longer represents an emergency.
“Covid has changed the world, and it has changed us. And that’s the way it should be. If we go back to how things were before Covid-19, we will have failed to learn our lessons, and failed our future generations,” said Ghebreyesus.