The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Friday, May 5th, that COVID-19 no longer constitutes
a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The decision was made by the organization’s
director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, based on the recommendation of the COVID-19
emergency committee. In a meeting held on Thursday, May 4th, the committee highlighted the declining
numbers of deaths and hospitalizations and the high levels of population immunity against SARS-CoV-2
as reasons for ending the PHEIC.
During a subsequent press conference, Tedros emphasized that while COVID-19 is no longer a PHEIC, it
remains a global health threat. He stressed that the new status doesn’t mean countries can let their
guard down, but instead, it is time for them to transition from emergency mode to managing COVID-19
alongside other infectious diseases. The WHO has called for a continued effort to vaccinate the global
population and to maintain the public health measures that have proven effective in controlling the
spread of the virus.
Tedros also noted that the WHO would continue to monitor the global situation closely and provide
guidance to countries to effectively manage the pandemic. “This is not a snap decision. It is a decision
that has been considered carefully for some time, planned for, and made on the basis of a careful
analysis of the data,” he said during the press conference.