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UPDATE 2-WHO maintains high COVID alert, but sees hope ahead

(Adds a quote from Tedros)

January 30 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that COVID-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern, its highest form of alert.

The pandemic was likely at a “transition point” that continues to need careful management to “mitigate potential negative consequences,” the agency added in a statement.

It has been three years since WHO first declared COVID to be a global health emergency. More than 6.8 million people died during the epidemic, which affected every country on Earth, devastating communities and economies.

However, the advent of vaccines and treatments has changed the pandemic situation considerably since 2020, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he had


see the emergency end this year, particularly if access to countermeasures can be improved globally.

“We remain hopeful that in the coming year, the world will move into a new phase where we will reduce hospitalizations (COVID) and deaths to the lowest possible level,” Tedros told a separate

WHO meeting

on Monday.

Advisers to the WHO expert panel on the state of the pandemic told Reuters in December it was probably not the time to end the


given the uncertainty over the surge in infections in China after it lifted its strict zero-COVID measures in late 2022.

(Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru and Jennifer Rigby in London; Editing by Toby Chopra and Nick Macfie)

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