International

WHO Downgrades Covid Pandemic, No Longer Global Emergency

The WHO said that lifting it is a sign of the progress the world has made in these areas, but COVID-19 is here to stay even if it no longer represents an emergency

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Hospital staff at the emergency entrance of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center
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Covid-19 no longer represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said on Friday. The pandemic has killed more than 6.9 million people across the world, disrupted the global economy and ravaged communities. 

The WHO's emergency committee 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 bolstering collaboration on vaccines and treatments, according to a report by Reuters.

The WHO said that lifting it is a sign of the progress the world has made in these areas, but Covid-19 is here to stay even if it no longer represents an emergency. "It is therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency. However, that does not mean Covid-19 is over as a global health threat. Last week, Covid-19 claimed a life every three minutes – and that’s just the deaths we know about," Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

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"The worst thing any country could do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that Covid-19 is nothing to worry about," he also warned.

The first covid case ever identified was on New Year's eve, 31 December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Further investigation discovered that the virus outbreak started between early October to mid-November 2019 in the country. According to WHO data, 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.

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