WHO maintains covid as an international emergency.

Feb 2, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The World Health Organisation warns that covid-19 remains “a dangerous infectious disease” that can cause considerable damage to people’s health and to health systems. However, it also recognises that the pandemic has entered a “transition” phase, which may lead to the alarm level coming to an end in the coming months,

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Covid as an international emergency

Three years have passed since the WHO first declared that covid represented a global health emergency. Since then, more than 6.8 million people have died from the pandemic worldwide.

The WHO Emergency Committee says it is now time to reflect on how to move from an emergency to a normal phase.

Living with the virus
The committee’s experts point out in their recommendation that thought must now be given to how to move safely from an emergency phase to a normal phase of living with the virus.

Although covid-19 has not officially lost its status as a serious threat to international public health since 31 January 2020, the world has left behind most of the restrictive measures associated with pandemic control.

The latest case is China, which last December lifted measures it had strictly enforced for three years, including containment and near-total border closures. After a sharp spike in deaths and hospitalisations, the pandemic also appears to be in steady decline in China.

However, the WHO argues that “long-term public health actions” are needed to lift the emergency declaration, on the understanding that it is unlikely that the virus can be eliminated from the human and animal “reservoirs” it has found.

The idea of the committee’s experts is that “alternative mechanisms” to the international emergency should be put in place to maintain focus on covid-19, both nationally and globally.

Inequality in vaccination
The WHO director general recently recalled that the global response to the pandemic cannot be considered successful as many countries still lack sufficient vaccines and treatment to care for their patients and that many health networks in resource-poor countries continue to suffer from this situation.

One example is Nigeria, where only 30 % vaccination coverage against covid has been achieved, although this is a major step forward, as a year ago the rate was only 3 %.