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WHO: Covid-19 no longer a global health emergency

Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared.

WHO announcement on Friday marked a significant step towards the end of the pandemic that has claimed almost 7 million lives, played havoc with the global economy, and ravaged communities.

WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee discussed the pandemic on Thursday at its 15th meeting on Covid-19, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concurred that the public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, declaration should end.

“For more than a year the pandemic has been on a downward trend. This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19,” Tedros said on Friday.

“Yesterday, the emergency committee met for the 15th time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice.”

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The WHO’s emergency committee first declared that Covid represented its highest level of alert more than three years ago, on January 30, 2020.

The status helps focus international attention on a health threat, as well as bolstering collaboration on vaccines and treatments.

Officials said the virus’ death rate had dropped from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 on April 24.

There have been more than 765 million confirmed Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to WHO data.

In his statement, Tedros said that, if needed, he would not hesitate to convene another emergency committee meeting and declare a global health emergency again if there is a significant rise in Covid-19 cases or deaths in the future.

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“Covid-19 has left and continues to leave deep scars on our world. Those scars must serve as a permanent reminder of the potential for new viruses to emerge with devastating consequences,” Tedros said.

According to WHO, Kenya recorded 5,668 Coronavirus deaths since the epidemic began, in addition, the country reported 343,060 Coronavirus Cases.

At the same time, Dr Mike Ryan, from the WHO’s health emergencies programme, said the emergency may have ended, but the threat is still there.

“We fully expect that this virus will continue to transmit and this is the history of pandemics. It took decades for the final throws of the pandemic virus of 1918 to disappear. In most cases pandemics truly end when the next pandemic begins.”

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