‘COVID-19 is no longer public health emergency’
-Dr. Clement Peter
By Ethel A Tweh
The Country Representative of the World Health Organization to Liberia, Dr. Clement Peter has disclosed that COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a public health emergency of international concern.
Dr. Peter told a news conference Wednesday in Monrovia that the International Health Regulation Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met for the fifth time on May 4, 2023.
He added that after the meeting, the Committee issued a statement on May 5, 2023, advising the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General that the pandemic is no longer considered a global health concern.
Dr. Peter stressed that the global risk assessment of COVID-19 remains high, but there is evidence of reducing risks to human health.
According to him, the Committee members highlighted some key criteria to reach its decisions, including the decreasing trend in COVID-19 deaths.
He also named a decline in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and ICU admissions. According to him, the circulating variants are not associated with increased disease severity and high levels of population immunity to SARS-CoV-2 from infection, vaccination, or both.
At the same time, the WHO Country Representative to Liberia said the Emergency Committee considered three reasons to conclude that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
He recounted that COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020, and characterized as a pandemic in March of the same year.
According to Dr. Clement Peter, COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue.
Meanwhile, the WHO through its Country Representative to Liberia has encouraged countries to implement some essential recommendations.
He admonished countries to sustain the national capacity gains and prepare for future events to avoid the occurrence of a cycle of panic and neglect.
Dr. Clement Peter also called on nations to integrate COVID-19 vaccination into life course programs and maintain efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage for all people in the high-priority groups.
Among other things, he wants countries to continue to work with communities to achieve strong, resilient, and inclusive risk communications and community engagement.