UN health agency: COVID-19 no longer a world emergency

UN health agency: COVID-19 no longer a world emergency

The World Health Organization on Friday said it was downgrading COVID-19 and no longer characterizing it as a global health emergency.

The U.N. health agency first declared the coronavirus to be an international crisis on Jan. 30, 2020.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the change during a media briefing held with reporters at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

But he clarified that this does not mean the pandemic is over.

“It is with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” he said. “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.”

The downgrade comes with the pandemic on a “downward trend” for more than a year due to growing immunity among the global population — both from vaccination and infection — as well as a decreasing number of deaths, according to Tedros. This has also led to health systems no longer feeling as a much of a burden as they once did.

“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before,” he said.

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