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May 5, 2023 9:45 am

Covid is No Longer a Global Health Emergency – WHO

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avatar by i24 News

A man receives a fourth dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as part of a trial in Israel, as Health Ministry is considering offering the second booster to the elderly and immunocompromised, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel December 27, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

i24 News – The Covid pandemic, which for over three years has killed millions of people, wreaked economic havoc, and deepened inequalities, is no longer a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said Friday.

“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,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

It is “with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” he added, estimating that the pandemic left “at least 20 million” people dead – nearly three times the official estimate.

The WHO 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it is a sign of the progress the world has made in these areas, but Covid is here to stay, the WHO has said, even if it no longer represents an emergency.

“However, that does not mean Covid-19 is over as a global health threat,” said Ghebreyesus.

The WHO does not declare the beginning or end of “pandemics,” although it did start using the term for Covid in March 2020. Last year, U.S. President Joe Biden said the pandemic was over, and like a number of other countries, the world’s biggest economy has begun dismantling its domestic state of emergency for Covid, meaning it will stop paying for things like vaccines.

The death rate has slowed from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 in the week to April 24, according to WHO data.

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