The corona pandemic is no longer considered an international health emergency. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on Friday in Geneva that the highest alert level that can be imposed in the event of a threat has been lifted. "The pandemic has been following a declining trend for a year," said Tedros, referring to increased immunity from vaccinations and infections. The decision does not have any concrete effects because each country determines for itself which protective measures it imposes.
The Sars-CoV-2 virus is not defeated, as Tedros emphasized. It continues to circulate in the world, is dangerous and can develop dangerous variants at any time. Nevertheless, the WHO followed the recommendation of an independent expert committee because it is convinced that the world has good tools to protect people from the virus. In addition to vaccines and medication, this also includes protective measures such as wearing masks or keeping your distance in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
According to an analysis, the UN vaccination program Covax alone saved 2.7 million lives in low-income countries by the end of 2022 through corona vaccinations.
According to WHO statistics, significantly fewer people are experiencing a severe course of the disease Covid-19 than at the beginning of the pandemic, when vaccines and medicines were not yet available. Nevertheless, from April 3 to 30 of this year alone, almost 2.8 million new infections and over 17,000 deaths were reported to the WHO. However, since there is hardly any testing in many countries, this is not considered an accurate picture of the situation.
When the WHO declares a public health emergency, it wants to rouse governments and the public to take a threat seriously and prepare. Each government decides for itself which specific recommendations or restrictions are imposed. The WHO only makes recommendations. The WHO continues to appeal to governments not to get on with business as usual. For months she has been asking for more corona tests to be carried out and for viruses to be genetically examined. This is the only way to get an overview of the spread of possible new variants.
When the WHO declared the corona health emergency on January 30, 2020, around 100 infections were known in around 20 countries outside of China and no deaths. According to new information from the WHO, at least 20 million people have died worldwide as a result of the corona pandemic. WHO chief Tedros named the new number of victims, which is almost three times as high as the previous official figures. In mid-March, Tedros said there were "almost seven million reported corona deaths," but the actual number of victims was much higher.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) attributes more than 173,000 deaths in Germany to a corona infection. Most of the various corona protection measures in this country were lifted months ago.
The WHO has declared a public health emergency seven times since 2005 - officially a "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC - Public Health Emergency of International Concern). The Corona emergency was the second longest. The longest applies to polio and has existed since 2014. Since July 2022 there has also been a monkeypox emergency. Emergencies have also been declared for influenza A virus H1N1 (2009-2010), Ebola in West Africa (2014-2016), Zika (2016) and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2019-2020).
Note: This article has been updated.