WHO says Covid-19 remains a global health emergency, but pandemic is at a ‘transition point’

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The World Health Organization said on Monday that Covid-19 remains a global health emergency, but acknowledged the pandemic is at a “transition point”.

The WHO’s Emergency Committee on International Health Regulations discussed the pandemic at its 14th meeting on Covid-19 on Friday, with Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calling it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, or PHEIC. We agreed that the declaration should continue.

so statement A WHO advisory committee announced on Monday urged the WHO to propose “alternative mechanisms to maintain global and national focus on COVID-19 after the PHEIC ends”.

“Achieving higher levels of herd immunity globally, through infection and/or vaccination, may limit the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on morbidity and mortality, but the virus remains a human disease. There is no doubt that it will remain a permanent and established pathogen of humans and animals for the foreseeable future. rice field. “Eliminating this virus from human and animal reservoirs is almost impossible, but mitigating its devastating impact on morbidity and mortality is achievable and must remain a priority goal. .”

In a list of temporary recommendations, Tedros said countries should keep people vaccinated and incorporate Covid-19 vaccines into routine care. Improve disease surveillance. Maintain a strong medical system to avoid the “panic-neglect cycle”. We will continue to fight misinformation. Adjust international travel measures based on risk assessment.

The organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a PHEIC in January 2020. This was about six weeks before it was characterized as a pandemic.

PHEIC creates agreements between countries to adhere to WHO recommendations for managing emergencies. Each country then declares its own public health emergency. This is a legally significant declaration. Countries use them to marshal resources and abandon rules to mitigate crises.

The United States also remains under its own public health emergency declaration recently renewed on January 11 by US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.

More than 170,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the past eight weeks, Tedros said last week when announcing the committee’s meeting. We are concerned about the situation in many countries and the increasing number of deaths. ”

Global Covid-19 deaths are on the rise, but the seven-day average remains significantly lower than earlier in the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Last week, ahead of the committee’s meeting, Tedros pleaded with countries not to stop fighting Covid-19.

“My message is clear: don’t underestimate this virus,” he said. “It has and will continue to amaze us. Unless we do more to get medical tools to those who need them and to tackle misinformation comprehensively, we will continue to be killed.” I guess.”

Also on Monday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies released two new reports warning that “all countries remain dangerously unprepared for future outbreaks”. .

IFRC Executive Director Jagan Chapagain said the Covid-19 pandemic should be a “wake-up call”.

“The next pandemic could be just around the corner. What if the experience of COVID-19 does not speed our progress towards preparedness?” news release.

According to the report, many of the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on countries, including unemployment and poverty, loss of learning, food insecurity and increased mental health problems, would be mitigated if governments invested in emergency preparedness. could have been avoided. They recommend that countries prepare for concurrent disasters such as disease outbreaks and extreme weather events.

“Our world is getting more and more dangerous, so we need to start preparing now,” says IFRC World Disaster Report 2022 He noted that many of the disasters are caused by climate change. “In 2021, 378 disasters excluding disease outbreaks were recorded, which is above the 20-year average of 337 disasters per year. While coping, we had to respond to disasters like hurricanes and floods.”

The report urges “action at the community level” to prepare for disasters on the front lines and to address existing economic and racial inequalities so that they are not exacerbated when disaster strikes.

of IFRCs Everyone Matters Report 2023 It also emphasizes “community resilience” by building and investing in “sanitation, sanitation, shelter and economic security” for communities.

Ultimately, the report states: The pandemic is not over, nor is the response over. ”

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