WHO says COVID-19 still a worldwide health emergency

Millions of cases are being reported each week, but surveillance has declined, making it difficult to get a full overview of the situation and how the virus is mutating. (Photo: Reuters)

Wednesday, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), nearly three years after it was first designated as such in January 2020.

According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom, director-general of WHO, the decision was made last week during a meeting of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19.

Adhanom stated in a briefing, "The committee stressed the need to increase surveillance and expand access to tests, treatments, and immunizations for those most at risk." And for all nations to upgrade their preparedness and reaction strategies.

The committee noted that the pandemic has improved, but maintains that the globe must maintain vigilance because the COVID-19 virus has proven unpredictable.

"Although the worldwide situation has improved significantly since the pandemic began, the virus continues to evolve, and there are still numerous risks and uncertainties," Adhanom stated. This pandemic has previously astonished us and could very well do so again.

WHO defines a PHEIC as "an unusual event" that potentially result in the transmission of disease to other countries. A PHEIC may necessitate a coordinated worldwide response and is frequently "severe, sudden, unusual, or unexpected."

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's top medical adviser, described the emergence of the new COVID form known as BQ.1 as "very troubling" last week. The strain and its descendant, BQ.1.1, are now responsible for almost 10% of new infections in the United States.

Publish : 2022-10-20 08:04:00

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