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WHO: COVID remains an emergency

The International Health Regulations (IHR - 2005) Emergency Committee on the 2019 Coronavirus Disease Pandemic (COVID-19) met for the fourteenth time on Friday 27 January 2023 and issued a report recommending that the pandemic continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, MD, concurs with the advice offered by the Committee and determines that the event continues to constitute an emergency.

Dr. Tedros acknowledges the Committee's view that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be at a transition point and appreciates its advice to navigate this transition carefully and mitigate potential negative consequences.

The committee has recommended to me, in their view, that COVID-19 remains a global health emergency and I concur. There is no question that we are in a much better situation than we were a year ago when the Omicron wave was at its peak. But since early December we have had reports of increased deaths. In the past eight weeks more than 170,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 and those are just the reports that we are aware of, we know the number is higher. We are confident that in the next few years there will be a transition where the world will move to a new phase where hospitalizations and deaths will be reduced to the lowest possible levels and health systems will be able to manage COVID-19 in a sustainable way.

The committee warned that "long-term public health measures are needed," as the virus is expected to remain an established pathogen for the foreseeable future.

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