The World Health Organisation has decided that the spread of Covid-19 is no longer a global public health emergency.
“For more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection, mortality decreasing, and the pressure on health systems easing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference in Geneva.
“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19,” Tedros said. “It is therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency.”
According to official WHO data, about 7 million people have died from the virus since the WHO declared an emergency on January 30, 2020. According to Tedros, the true death toll is at least 20 million.
The World Health Organization’s decision comes as the United States prepares to lift its national public health emergency on Thursday. Tedros stated that there is still a chance that a new variety will arise, causing another surge in cases. He advised national governments not to dismantle the measures they had put in place to combat the virus.
“This virus is here to stay. It’s still killing and it’s still changing,” he said.
However, the WHO director-general stated that the time has come for countries to shift from an emergency reaction to managing Covid like other infectious diseases. Covid was initially discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, when numerous individuals began experiencing pneumonia symptoms for unclear reasons.
Covid spread rapidly over the world in early 2020, causing an unprecedented halt of international travel and border closures as countries failed to prevent the virus’s spread.
Covid wreaked havoc on the elderly and other vulnerable groups, as well as hospitals that lacked the bed capacity and supplies to handle the rapid spike of misery and death.
Many national governments closed down public life in a frantic attempt to halt the death, resulting in a catastrophic economic collapse and social dislocation, the long-term implications of which will likely not be completely understood for years.
“Covid-19 has been so much more than health crisis,” Tedros said. “It has caused severe economic upheaval, erasing trillions from GDP, disrupting travel and trade, shattering businesses and plunging millions into poverty,” he said.
“It has caused severe social upheaval with borders closed, movement restricted, schools shut and millions of people experiencing loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression,” Tedros said.
China has faced fierce criticism for not alerting the world earlier, an allegation Beijing denies. Critics have also accused the WHO of relying too much on information from Beijing at the outset of the pandemic.
More than three years later, the virus’s origins remain a highly debated enigma. Scientists, government officials, and the general public are still debating whether Covid was transmitted to people through an infected animal or leaked from a Chinese lab.
The intelligence community in the United States is split on the origins of Covid. The United States, its allies, and the World Health Organisation have all chastised China for failing to provide transparent access to data that could help understand how the outbreak began.
(Adapted from Nature.com)
Categories: Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability, Uncategorized
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