WHO maintains Highest Level of Alert for COVID, but Sees Hope this Year
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that COVID-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern, its highest form of alert, Reuters reported.
The pandemic is likely at a "transitional moment" that continues to need careful management to "mitigate potential negative consequences," the organization added in a statement.
It has been three years since WHO first declared COVID a global health emergency. More than 6.8 million people have died during the pandemic, which has affected countries around the world, devastating communities and economies.
However, the advent of vaccines and treatments has significantly changed the pandemic situation since 2020, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he hoped to see an end to the emergency this year, especially if access to countermeasures could be improved globally.
"We remain hopeful that in the coming year the world will move into a new phase where we will reduce hospitalizations and deaths (from COVID) to the lowest possible level," he told a WHO meeting on Monday.
Advisers to the WHO's expert committee on the state of the pandemic told Reuters in December that now was probably not the time to end the emergency, given the uncertainty surrounding the wave of infections in China after Beijing lifted its strict zero-covid measures at the end of 2022.
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