Covid is no longer considered a global emergency, according to the WHO.
The devastating coronavirus pandemic that prompted previously unthinkable lockdowns, upended economies around the world, and killed at least 7 million people worldwide has officially come to an end, according to the World Health Organization, who announced on Friday that Covid-19 no longer meets the criteria for a global emergency.
Despite the end of the emergency phase, the pandemic, according to WHO, is still ongoing due to recent increases in cases in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. According to the Global health agency, the virus continues to claim hundreds of lives each week.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that he "declares Covid-19 over as a global health emergency" with tremendous optimism. "It does not mean Covid-19 is no longer a threat to public health worldwide."
On January 30, 2020, the UN health agency initially designated the coronavirus an international emergency, but it had not yet been given the name Covid-19 and there had been no significant outbreaks outside of China.
Over the course of the past three years, the virus is thought to have resulted in 764 million infections worldwide, and 5 billion people have gotten at least one dosage of the vaccine.
On May 11, the Covid-19 public health emergency designation will come to an end in the US, along with a number of other pandemic response measures, such as vaccine mandates. The outbreak last year led many other nations, notably Germany, France, and Britain, to abandon many of their precautions.
In reality, the US and Britain were among the nations that had the highest Covid-19 death tolls and were previously thought to be the best prepared for a pandemic. Data from the WHO show that only 3% of all recorded deaths worldwide occur in Africa.
After assembling an expert committee on Thursday, WHO decided to downgrade its highest level of alert on Friday. Although the UN agency doesn't "declare" pandemics, it was the phrase that was first used to characterise the epidemic in March 2020, after the virus had spread to all continents except Antarctica and much after many other experts had declared that a pandemic was already in progress.
The sole entity tasked with coordinating the global response to serious health risks is WHO, yet as the coronavirus spread, the group struggled repeatedly. Even though recordings of private conversations acquired by The Associated Press revealed top officials were upset with China's lack of cooperation, WHO publicly praised China in January 2020 for its alleged prompt and transparent reaction.
WHO also advised against the public using masks as Covid-19 protection for months, which many health professionals claim resulted in the loss of lives.
However, a number of scientists criticised WHO for being reluctant to accept that Covid-19 was regularly distributed in the air and by healthy individuals, as well as for the agency's lack of clear guidance to prevent such exposure.
The world was on the verge of a "catastrophic moral failure" if injections weren't shared with poor countries, said Tedros, as wealthy nations hoarded the limited supplies of Covid-19 vaccinations.
More lately, WHO has struggled to look into the coronavirus's origins, a difficult scientific endeavour that has also been politically contentious.
Covid-19 most likely entered humans from animals, according to a report issued by WHO in 2021 after a several-week trip to China, which ruled out the likelihood that it originated in a lab as "very implausible."
The UN agency later changed its position, claiming that "important pieces of data" were still missing and that it was premature to rule out the possibility that Covid-19 might have connections to a lab.
China and other nations were condemned for not acting more quickly to stop the virus by a team appointed by WHO to examine its performance. The panel also stated that the agency was hindered by its low financial resources and unable to compel governments to act.