The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the WHO’s highest alert level.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, made the announcement at a virtual press conference from Geneva.
The WHO has outlined three objectives in the report: reduce the circulation of SARS-CoV-2; diagnose and treat COVID-19 to reduce mortality, morbidity and long-term sequelae; support countries as they transition from an emergency response to longer-term sustained COVID-19 disease prevention, control and management.
The lowering of alert level “does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat,” he said at the press conference.
“COVID-19 has changed our world and it has changed us,” Tedros said at Friday’s press conference, warning that the risk of new variants still remained.
As of May 3, 2023, there have been more than 765 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, including over 6.9 million deaths, reported to WHO, according to the UN agency’s statistics.