The World Health Organization (WHO) lifted the global health emergency status for COVID-19 on Friday, May 5, 2023, more than three years after its original declaration in 2020. 

“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,” 

“It’s therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency.” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared. 

Ghebreyesus made this decision based on the recommendation from the organization’s COVID-19 emergency committee. The committee emphasized the decreasing number of deaths and hospitalizations, and the increasing levels of public immunity against the disease, reflecting vaccination efforts and the availability of better treatments. 

Is coronavirus still a pandemic? 

Yes. Despite the announcement that the COVID emergency was over, Ghebreyesus still warned that the virus is here to stay and thousands of people continue to die each week. 

He also highlighted that countries still need to be vigilant about coronavirus as it continues to evolve, with the potential for new outbreaks.

“This virus is here to stay. It is still killing, and it’s still changing. The risk remains of new variants emerging that cause new surges in cases and deaths,” he stated. 

When will the pandemic end? 

A clear and certain answer can’t be provided. WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan conveyed that COVID continues to be a health concern and its evolution could cause potential problems in the future. 

“Pandemics only truly end when the next pandemic begins,” he said.

Contribute to the reduction of COVID cases

Lifting is indeed a sign that there is progress and even if it COVID is no longer considered an emergency, we must continue taking measures to ensure safety against it. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Practice social distancing
  • Increase ventilation and improve air quality
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Be mindful of travel
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