WHO Declares That COVID-19 Is No Longer A Global Health Emergency

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On Friday (May 5), the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the Covid-19 global health emergency.

“Yesterday (May 4), the [hashtag] COVID-19 Emergency Committee met for the 15th time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted this morning. “With great hope, I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency.”

According to CNN, Tedros also spoke at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland today. “For more than a year the pandemic has been on a downward trend,” he said. “This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19.”

WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020, which was nearly six weeks before it was characterized as a pandemic. A PHEIC creates an agreement between countries to abide by WHO’s recommendations for managing the emergency. 

The U.S. is set to end its Covid-19 public health emergency on Thursday, May 11. “Today (May 1), we are announcing that the administration will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal employees, federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. Additionally, HHS and DHS announced today that they will start the process to end their vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, CMS-certified healthcare facilities, and certain noncitizens at the land border. In the coming days, further details related to ending these requirements will be provided,” the White House said in a statement earlier this week.