PANAJI: The COVID-19 pandemic, which for over three years has killed millions of people, wreaked economic havoc and deepened inequalities, no longer constitutes a global health emergency, the WHO said Friday.
It is “with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency”, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters, estimating that the pandemic had killed “at least 20 million” people — nearly three times the under seven million deaths officially recorded
The move came after the WHO’s independent emergency committee on the COVID-19 crisis agreed during its 15th meeting on Thursday that the crisis no longer merited the organisation’s highest level of alert.
But, Tedros warned, the decision did not mean the danger was over, cautioning that the emergency status could be reinstated if the situation changes.
Tedros said the pandemic had been on a downward trend for more than a year, acknowledging that most countries have already returned to how life was before COVID-19 emerged. He bemoaned the damage that COVID-19 had done to the global community, saying the disease had shattered businesses and plunged millions of people into poverty.
Tedros also noted that there were likely at least 20 million COVID-19 deaths, far more than the officially reported 7 million.
“COVID has changed our world, and it has changed us,” he said, warning that the risk of new variants still remains.