WHO maintains maximum alert level

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to maintain its maximum level of alert on the Covid-19 pandemic, three years to the day after declaring the disease a public health emergency of international concern.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus followed the recommendations of the Covid-19 Emergency Committee, experts who were meeting for the 14th time on Friday, according to a statement.

The Committee had declared the Covid 19 epidemic a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (USPPI) on January 30, 2020, while outside China, less than 100 cases and no deaths had yet been recorded.

Dr. Tedros had already made it known that he considered the lifting of the highest level of alert premature.

“Although I do not want to preempt the opinion of the emergency committee, I remain very concerned about the situation in many countries and the growing number of deaths,” he said on Tuesday, during a regular press briefing. in Geneva.

“My message is clear: do not underestimate this virus, it has surprised us and will continue to surprise us and it will continue to kill, unless we do more to provide health means to people who need it and to fight against disinformation on a global scale”, had insisted the director general, who can choose to follow or not the opinion of the Emergency Committee.

The alert, with a somewhat convoluted name, had failed to convince the authorities and the general public of the urgency of the situation in January 2020, which was allowed with the use of the term “pandemic” on 11 March by the head of the WHO.

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Three years later, the Committee considers that “the Covid-19 pandemic is probably at a point of transition” and the director general said he appreciated “the advice of the Committee to navigate with caution during this transition and to mitigate the potential negative consequences”. .

170,000 dead recently

On Friday, in his introductory remarks at the opening of the meeting, the Director General of the WHO had stressed that “since the beginning of December, the number of weekly deaths reported in the world has been increasing”.

“In addition, the lifting of restrictions in China has led to an increase in the number of deaths in the most populous country in the world” during the week of January 16 to 22, explained director Tedros, adding that out of nearly 40,000 deaths due to Covid and reported to the WHO, “more than half were reported from China”.

The disease has claimed 170,000 lives in the past two months.

Dr Tedros regretted that too few people are being properly vaccinated and that surveillance and genetic sequencing, which track the evolution of the virus and its movements, have dropped sharply.

According to the WHO dashboard, the disease had officially killed 6,804,491 as of January 27, but both WHO and experts agree that the death toll is much higher.

The WHO counted 752,517,552 people infected, again a much lower number than the reality, especially since with the drop in tests, new cases are far from always being recorded.

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