WHO says COVID-19 no longer a global health emergency

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COVID-19 no longer represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organisation says, in a major step towards the end of the pandemic that has killed more than 6.9 million people, disrupted the global economy and ravaged communities.

The WHO's emergency committee first declared that COVID-19 represented its highest level of alert more than three years ago, on January 30, 2020.

The status helps focus international attention on a health threat, as well as bolstering collaboration on vaccines and treatments.

Lifting it is a sign of the progress the world has made in these areas, but COVID-19 is here to stay, the WHO has said, even if it no longer represents an emergency.

The death rate has slowed from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just more than 3500 in the week to April 24, according to WHO data.