WHO says Covid-19 remains a global health emergency

Cases reported to WHO had risen by 30 per cent in the last fortnight. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday (July 12) that Covid-19 remains a global emergency, nearly 2½ 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 per cent 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 push back.” 

The UN health agency first declared the highest level of alert, known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, for Covid-19 on Jan 30, 2020.

Such a determination can help accelerate research, funding and international public health measures to contain a disease.

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