Will WHO declare end of pandemic in April?

The World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. On Monday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited a new report by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, saying the Covid-19 pandemic is probably at a transition point, but “it continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern.”

“While the world is in a better position than it was during the peak of the Omicron transmission one year ago, more than 170,000 Covid-19-related deaths have been reported globally within the last eight weeks. In addition, surveillance and genetic sequencing have declined globally, making it more difficult to track known variants and detect new ones,” the report said.

The WHO chief said vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics remain critical in preventing severe disease, saving lives and taking the pressure off health systems and health workers. He lamented that Covid-19 response remains hobbled in too many countries unable to provide these tools to the populations most in need—older people and health workers.

Globally, he said 13.1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered, with 89 percent of health workers and 81 percent of older adults (over 60 years) having completed the primary series. “Significant progress has also been made in developing effective medical countermeasures; building global capacity for genomic sequencing and genomic epidemiology; and in understanding how to manage the infodemic in the new informational eco-system, including social media platforms.”

The WHO chief urged countries to remain vigilant and continue reporting surveillance and genomic sequencing data; to recommend appropriately targeted risk-based public health and social measures where necessary; to vaccinate populations most at risk to minimize severe disease and deaths; and to conduct regular risk communication, answering population concerns and engaging communities to improve the understanding and implementation of countermeasures.

From the Associated Press: “President Joe Biden informed Congress on Monday that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing Covid-19 on May 11, as most of the world has returned closer to normalcy nearly three years after they were first declared. The move to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations would formally restructure the federal coronavirus response to treat the virus as an endemic threat to public health that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities.”

From Bloomberg: “Japan is no longer the best-performing wealthy nation when it comes to avoiding Covid deaths. The country, which has one of the oldest populations in the world, is quietly experiencing its biggest outbreak of the pandemic. A wave of Omicron infections overwhelmed its health system this winter and delayed medical care for patients, sending daily deaths to a record high of more than 500 on January 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”

In an article published in nature.com—When will Covid stop being a global emergency?—David Adam said many researchers agree with the WHO’s assessment that the Covid-19 outbreak will probably stop being a global emergency soon—but we’re not there just yet. He quoted Salim Abdool Karim, an epidemiologist who advises the South African government on Covid-19: “The WHO can’t say that the public-health emergency is over when you’ve got millions of cases and you’ve got thousands of deaths a day. For instance, China has seen a surge in infections and deaths across the country since lifting its zero-Covid policy at the end of last year.”

Preben Aavitsland, director for surveillance at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, said: “On the basis of its declaration that the Covid-19 crisis is at an inflection, the WHO’s emergency committee appears to be preparing to end the PHEIC (public health emergency of international concern) in April. As part of that transition, the WHO is encouraging countries to integrate Covid-19 surveillance and vaccination into routine programs. “I guess the WHO now will start making the plan for the transition and have this ready for the next meeting in three months’ time,” he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article
Column box-Eagle Watch

Redefining sustainable development, the Asean way

Next Article

Editorial Cartoon February 03, 2023

Related Posts

Opinion - BusinessMirror
Read more

Let’s help preserve humanity’s lifeblood

The Earth is known as the “Blue Planet” because 71 percent of its surface is covered with water. The oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. Of the waters occupying the planet’s surface, only 3 percent is considered freshwater. And most of this freshwater reserve is inaccessible to humans — locked up in polar ice caps or stored too far underneath the Earth’s surface to be extracted. Furthermore, much of the freshwater that is accessible has become highly polluted. This leaves us with roughly 0.4 percent of the Earth’s water that is usable and drinkable to be shared among seven billion people.

Column box-Sonny Angara 2
Read more

A big push for micro, small and medium enterprises

Earlier this week, we sponsored a measure that will institutionalize the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Through the SSFs micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) qualified beneficiaries are provided with the appropriate machinery, equipment, and tools under a “shared” system that would address known gaps in the value chain, most notably the lack of adequate and appropriate facilities, which hinder them from elevating their products and services and enabling the creation of export-ready goods.

Read more

Women, economics, and economy

IN 1994, Ms. Universe Sushmita Sen gave her award-winning answer to the question of a woman’s true essence. Ms. Sen said, “Just being a woman is a gift of God that all of us must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother, who is a woman.” Her reply implies that a woman’s reproductive role centers on being a biological bearer of infants—something that is expected and natural.