GENEVA, 6 May 2023:
Months after US president Joe Biden first declared last year an end to the Covid19 pandemic status in the US and that that he would be signing such a status change to be effected by May 11, the World Health Organisation has acted similarly.
The global health agency’s Emergency Committee met on Thursday and recommended the UN organisation declare an end to the coronavirus crisis as a “public health emergency of international concern” – its highest level of alert – which has been in place since 30 Jan 2020.
In announcing this end to the global health emergency, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that Covid19 still remains a threat – which individual nations are expected to manage on their own. “The risk remains of new variants emerging that cause new surges in cases and deaths.”
With infections tracked since the global pandemic status was declared in March 2020, cumulative cases worldwide now stand at 765,222,932, with nearly seven million deaths – WHO says the precise figure currently stands at 6,921,614.
As of April 30, it said a total of more than 13.3 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.
Tedros also noted the enormous damage inflicted on all aspects of global life by the virus, including enormous economic upheaval, “erasing trillions from GDP, disrupting travel and trade, shuttering businesses, and plunging millions into poverty.”
He further noted the pandemic had “exposed political fault lines, within and between nations. It has eroded trust between people, governments and institutions, fuelled by a torrent of mis- and disinformation.”
He reminded that as he was speaking, thousands around the world continue to fight for their lives in intensive care, and millions more, will live for the foreseeable future, “with the debilitating effects” of post-Covid conditions, or so-called “long Covid”.
Acknowledging many mistakes were made – including a lack of coordination, equity and solidarity, which meant that existing tools and technologies were not best used to combat the virus – he added: “We must promise ourselves and our children and grandchildren, that we will never make those mistakes again.”