The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that COVID-19 remains a global emergency, nearly2-1/2 years after it was first declared.
The Emergency Committee, made up of independent experts, said in a statement that rising cases, ongoing viral evolution and pressure on health services in a number of countries meant that the situation was still an emergency.
Cases reported to WHO had risen by 30% in the last fortnight, although increased population immunity, largely from vaccines, had seen a “decoupling” of cases from hospitalisations and deaths, the committee’s statement said.
“COVID-19 is nowhere near over,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference from Geneva after the announcement. “As the virus pushes at us, we must pushback.”
The UN health agency first declared the highest level of alert, known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, for COVID-19 on January 30, 2020.
Such a determination can help accelerate research, funding and international public health measures to contain a disease.