The Covid-19 emergency is over after nearly 20mn deaths, the World Health Organization said on Friday, ending a three-year designation it first adopted in January 2020.
The UN body said it had called an end to the designation of Covid-19 as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’, or PHEIC — the highest possible under international health regulations.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “For more than a year the pandemic has been on a downward trend.
“Yesterday the emergency committee meet for the fifteenth time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice.
“It’s therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” he added.
“It is time for countries to transition from emergency mode,” he said.
The health body began using the word “pandemic” in March 2020 to alert the world to the perils of the virus, though the term bears no legal meaning.
The pandemic has killed nearly 7mn and infected 765mn, according to WHO-compiled figures. Both numbers are believed to be significant underestimates because of limited testing. Tedros said the true figure was higher, probably about 20mn deaths.
Other diseases that have been designated as PHEICs include Ebola, polio and mpox, formerly known as monkeypox.
More to follow . . .