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Reaction: WHO maintains covid-19 pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) International Health Regulations Committee on Emergencies has decided to maintain the covid-19 pandemic as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) after meeting last Friday.

30/01/2023 - 12:50 CET


Expert reactions

Voro Peiró - PHEIC

Salvador Peiró

Epidemiologist and researcher in the Health Services and Pharmacoepidemiology Research Area of the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research of the Valencian Community (FISABIO)

Science Media Centre Spain

Firstly, the very meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to assess whether covid-19 remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is, in itself, good news.  It is an indicator of the marked improvement in the global pandemic situation.  

For the rest, it seems reasonable that the WHO would like to maintain PHEIC until further progress has been made in: 1) member states' medium- to long-term preparedness and prevention plans, 2) maintaining attention on the surveillance of new variants and 3) assessing some regulatory aspects (some authorisations for vaccines, diagnostic tests and treatments, in some countries, are covered by the declaration of covid-19 as PHEIC).   

In short, a step that implicitly recognises the improved situation of the pandemic and - as was to be expected from the WHO - advances with the necessary caution in reducing the global alert. 

The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest
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