The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on May 4, 2023, that COVID-19 is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The decision comes amid a global decline in COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions, and the high levels of population immunity to SARS-CoV-2.
“It’s with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “That does not mean Covid-19 is over as a global health threat,” he added.
The Emergency Committee on COVID-19 pandemic expressed concern about the decline in surveillance reporting to WHO, pandemic fatigue, and inequitable access to life-saving interventions. To address these issues and guide countries in transitioning to long-term management of COVID-19, the Director-General announced the publication of the 2023-2025 COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.
Throughout the world, people have received 13.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and a significant percentage of health workers and individuals over 60 years of age have completed their primary vaccine series. However, the level of vaccination coverage in these priority groups varies in different parts of the world.
WHO emphasized the need for countries to continue monitoring and managing the pandemic with a long-term perspective, ensuring access to life-saving interventions for all, and working together to prevent the spread of the virus. While COVID-19 is no longer considered a PHEIC, it remains a serious and ongoing health threat, the organization emphasized.