New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) will decide this month whether the Covid-19 pandemic still represents a global emergency, a spokesperson said on Tuesday (January 10, 2023). At a press briefing, WHO spokesperson Carla Drysdale said that the UN agency committee will decide on the coronavirus emergency on January 27, three years after it was first declared.
The Emergency Committee advises WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who makes the ultimate call on whether an outbreak represents a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the UN agency’s highest level of alert.
The emergency designation helps international organizations prioritize funding and assistance for research, vaccines and treatments.
According to several leading scientists and WHO advisers, it may be too early to declare the end of the pandemic emergency phase because of the rapid surge of infections in China.
Alongside the risks for China, some global health figures have also warned that allowing the virus to spread domestically could also give it space to mutate, potentially creating a new variant in line with how it has evolved when allowed to spread in other regions.
It is notable that in September last year, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said “the end is in sight” for the pandemic. Two months later, he had told reporters that he was “hopeful” of an end to the emergency some time next year.
However, with the current global pandemic situation, it is unlikely that the UN health body will declare that Covid-19 is not a global emergency.
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