On May 5, the World Health Organization released a statement determining the COVID-19 pandemic no longer warranted a public health emergency of international concern. The announcement followed the fifteenth meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The WHO Director-General [Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] concurs with the advice offered by the Committee regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the statement read. "He determines that COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)."
During the deliberative session, the Committee members highlighted the decreasing trend in COVID-19 deaths, the decline in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions and the high levels of population immunity to SARS-CoV-2. The Committee’s position has been evolving over the last several months. While acknowledging the remaining uncertainties posted by potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2, they advised that it is time to transition to long-term management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement also noted the WHO Director-General considered the advice provided by the Committee regarding the proposed Temporary Recommendations and issued them as per the below statement. The WHO Director-General will convene an IHR Review Committee to advise on Standing Recommendations for the long-term management of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, taking into account the 2023-2025 COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. During this transition, States Parties are advised to continue following the issued Temporary Recommendations. The Director-General expressed his sincere gratitude to the Chair, the Members and the Advisors of the Committee for their engagement and advice during the last three years.