New Delhi, Mar 18, 2023: Covid-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed more than seven million deaths globally, may likely end up being as public health emergency of international concern’ this year and pose a seasonal flu threat, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
"I’m confident that this year we will be able to say that Covid-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing.
"And I think we’re coming to that point where we can look at Covid-19 in the same way we look at seasonal influenza," he added.
The WHO chief said that Covid will continue to pose a threat to human health. It will turn into a "virus that will continue to kill, but a virus that is not disrupting our society or disrupting our hospital system".
He added that the virus may become more transmissible but not cause severe disease.
Covid-19 was marked as pandemic on March 11, 2020.
"We declared a global health emergency to spur countries to take decisive action, but not all countries did," he said on Friday.
"Three years later, there are almost seven million reported deaths from Covid-19, although we know that the actual number of deaths is much higher."
He noted that for the first time, the weekly number of reported deaths over the past four weeks has been lower than the time the virus was declared a pandemic.
Yet more than 5,000 deaths have been reported per week. It is "too many for a disease that can be prevented and treated", the WHO chief said.