The Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed millions of people, caused economic turmoil, and exacerbated inequities for more than three years, is no longer a global health emergency, according to the WHO on Friday.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters that “with great hope, I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” claiming that the pandemic had killed “at least 20 million” people, roughly three times the under seven million deaths officially reported.
The decision came after the World Health Organization’s independent emergency committee on the Covid issue determined at its 15th meeting on Thursday that the crisis no longer warranted the organization’s highest degree of concern.
However, Tedros cautioned that the decision did not mean the threat had passed, and that the emergency status might be renewed if the circumstances changed.
“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 said.
On January 30, 2020, the UN health agency labeled the disaster a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
That was just a few weeks after the mystery new viral disease was discovered in China, and there had been less than 100 cases and no deaths reported outside of the country.
But it wasn’t until Tedros declared the escalating Covid situation a pandemic on March 11, 2020, that many countries became aware of the threat.
The SARS CoV-2 virus, which causes the sickness, had already began its lethal march over the world at that point.
Countries hurried to reply, making it up as they went, yet unsure of what they were up against.