(Geneva) The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday that it was maintaining its highest alert level in the COVID-19 crisis, warning of a pandemic that “has surprised us before and could very well do so again”.
Posted at 11:56 am
The WHO’s emergency committee met last week to discuss lifting the alert, but decided the pandemic was still a public health emergency of international concern (USPPI) and pulled out.
“The committee concludes that COVID-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday.
On January 30, 2020, the WHO Emergency Committee reached a consensus and classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (USPPI).
Since then, the alert level has not been lowered. And Mr Tedros warned that “the virus continues to evolve and there are many risks and uncertainties”.
“The pandemic has surprised us before and could do it again,” he warned.
The committee stressed the need to “expand access to tests, treatments and vaccines” and recommended that “all countries update their national plans” for the crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 622 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported to WHO, and more than 6.5 million deaths have occurred. The figures are greatly underestimated.
According to WHO, 263,000 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. In the past week alone, 856 new COVID-19 deaths have been reported worldwide.