WHO says COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern
May 5, 2023, 7:14 AM HST
The World Health Organization today said that COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue, and no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
This comes more than three years after the organization declared it a crisis back in March of 2020. Today’s announcement marks a transition to a downgraded response.
The announcement came with a list of recommendations moving forward relating to vaccination efforts, ongoing transitions to lift international travel related health restrictions, and sustaining national capacity gains and readiness for future outbreaks.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that the number of weekly reported deaths and hospitalizations continue to decrease, but at the same time expressed concern that surveillance reporting had declined significantly.
He announced the publication of the 2023-2025 COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan which is designed to guide countries in transitioning to long-term disease management of COVID-19.
According to the WHO, “global risk assessment remains high,” but “there is evidence of reducing risks to human health driven mainly by high population-level immunity from infection, vaccination, or both.” The organization also said there is improved case management.
“While SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, the currently circulating variants do not appear to be associated with increased severity,” the organization reports.