On Friday, 5th May, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a long-awaiting end to the COVID-19 global health emergency.

According to the statement made by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the pandemic 'has been on a downward trend' for over a year. 

The WHO has also revealed temporary recommendations which encourage the member states to continue removing the COVID-19 international health measures.

They should still maintain risk assessments and, at the same time, they are recommended not to require any vaccination proof of travelers.

The World Health Organization confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the WHO's highest alert level.

The highest level of alert was first given to the coronavirus in January 2020 and was updated and revised on a quarterly basis by global health experts.

Factors influencing the decisions

Health experts from China put a particular emphasis on the new COVID-19 assessment and its impacts both in and outside China.

They focused on four following factors:

  • The number of new cases reported globally - taking into account all cases, whether infected, hospitalized, in ICU, or dead due to the coronavirus, all cases have shown a steady downturn trend.
  • COVID-19 and its mutations - despite the fact that the virus continues to mutate, the adverse effects of the new strains on human health remain rather unchanged.
  • Herd immunity - it was achieved due to extensive infections and successful vaccination campaigns worldwide.
  • Improvement in global pandemic responses - the past three years of the pandemic have strengthened the world's healthcare and public health systems in terms of access to medicine, medical equipment, etc.

All these four factors have shown that humanity is now able to meet all the standard requirements to declare an end to the global emergency of coronavirus. 

COVID-19 is still with us

Although the state of emergency has ended, it does not mean that the virus has stopped existing. The world governments must still cooperate to introduce measures aimed at better protection of human health

All in all, the new assessment would lead to a further reduction or even removal of limitations and restrictions implemented amid the ongoing pandemic on international travel, trade, and transportation. 

Removal of all restrictions does not mean that certain measures shouldn't remain in place. Most vulnerable people or those in need of special care should continue to receive vaccination booster doses, while people, in general, should pay much attention to hygiene

Moreover, it is necessary to establish effective monitoring of the new coronavirus strains to respond to them more effectively, and it can be achieved thanks to the well-functioning public healthcare system. Lastly, severe COVID-19 cases must be treated in a competent way.

Katarzyna Żyła

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