The World Health Organization (WHO) has extended the COVID-19 PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) status, which has been in force since January 2020, for three more months, the WHO said on Monday after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on the coronavirus situation.
"The WHO Director-General concurs with the advice offered by the Committee regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and determines that the event continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)," the WHO said.
According to WHO experts, "the COVID-19 pandemic is probably at a transition point."
"The Committee acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic may be approaching an inflexion point. Achieving higher levels of population immunity globally, either through infection and/or vaccination, may limit the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on morbidity and mortality," it said. "But there is little doubt that this virus will remain a permanently established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future."
Although "eliminating this virus from human and animal reservoirs is highly unlikely, mitigation of its devastating impact on morbidity and mortality is achievable and should continue to be a prioritized goal," the WHO said.
The WHO Committee recommended to develop "alternative mechanisms" to continue the anti-COVID effort after the PHEIC is terminated.
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