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WHO experts consider whether world is ready to end COVID emergency

A panel of global health experts will meet on Thursday to decide whether COVID-19 remains an emergency under World Health Organization rules. This is a status that helps maintain international attention to the pandemic.

WHO first issued its highest-level alert for COVID on 30 January 2020, and since then the Commission has continued to apply the label at its quarterly meetings.

However, some countries, such as the United States, have recently started lifting their domestic state of emergency declarations.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he hopes to end the global emergency by the end of the year.

No consensus has yet been reached on how the panel will rule, WHO advisers and outside experts told Reuters.

Professor Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist participating in the WHO panel, said: ‘Even though the emergency may end, it is important to communicate that COVID remains a complex public health challenge. She declined to speculate further ahead of private talks.

A source close to the negotiations said the lifting of the “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC) label could affect global funding and cooperation efforts. said.

“We are not out of the pandemic, but we have reached another stage,” said Professor Salim Abdul Karim, a leading COVID expert who previously advised the South African government on its response.

Karim, who is not on the WHO committee, said the government should continue to maintain testing, vaccination and treatment programs when the state of emergency is lifted.

Others said it was time to move on to living with COVID as an ongoing health threat like HIV and tuberculosis.

“All emergencies must end,” said Lawrence Gostin, a law professor at Georgetown University in the United States and a WHO follower.

“I hope the WHO will end this public health emergency of international concern. If the WHO does not end it… [this time]Then, the next time the emergency committee meets, I’ll definitely do it.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/who-experts-weigh-whether-world-ready-to-end-covid-emergency-/7078274.html WHO experts consider whether world is ready to end COVID emergency

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