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We're still living in a pandemic, U.N. health agency chief and panel agree

World Health Organization leaders agree COVID-19 remains an emergency but the pandemic may be approaching "an inflection point" of higher immunity resulting in fewer deaths.

The U.N. health agency says COVID-19 is still an emergency but it is nearing "an inflection point"
The U.N. health agency says COVID-19 is still an emergency but it may be nearing "an inflection point" (AN/Arya Pratama/Unsplash)

GENEVA (AN) – The head of the World Health Organization took the advice of his expert advisers, agreeing to hold off on declaring the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Despite his belief that the emergency situation needs to come to an end sometime this year, WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Monday that now is not the time to let up the pressure.

His decision, based on advice from WHO's Emergency Committee, which met in a closed videoconference on Friday. means the official declaration of a pandemic remains in place.

But a panel of advisers said the pandemic may be approaching an "inflection point" in which higher levels of immunity could reduce virus-related deaths.

WHO's Public Health Emergency of International Concern, or PHEIC, the highest level of alert that the U.N. health agency can issue, is now entering its fourth year.

"COVID-19 remains a dangerous infectious disease with the capacity to cause substantial damage to health and health systems," Tedros said of the committee's report to him.

"The committee acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic may be approaching an inflection point," the panel said.

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