WHO downgrades COVID-19, saying it is no longer a public health emergency

The World Health Organization marked COVID as a global pandemic in March 2020.

Friday, May 5, 2023 20:43

The World Health Organization on Friday said it was downgrading COVID-19 and would no longer characterize it as a global health emergency.

The United Nations health agency first declared the coronavirus an international crisis on January 30, 2020.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the changes during a press conference held with journalists at the agency's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

But he clarified that this does not mean the pandemic is over.

“It is with great hope that I declare COVID-19 to end as a global health emergency,” he said. “However, that doesn't mean COVID-19 ends as a global health threat. Last week, COVID-19 took a life every three minutes — and those were the only deaths we know of.”

The downgrade comes with the pandemic on a “downtrend” for more than a year due to increased immunity among the global population – from both vaccinations and infection – as well as a decrease in the number of deaths, according to Tedros. This also causes the health system to no longer feel burdened like before.

“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before,” he said.

This is an evolving story. Please check back for updates.

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