A WHO Committee must rule on the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic
Is the COVID-19 pandemic still serious enough to merit WHO's maximum alert level? The organization's emergency committee on COVID-19 was meeting on Friday to decide.
For the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the answer does not seem to make much sense. doubt.
“Although I do not want to preempt the opinion of the emergency committee, I remain very concerned about the situation in many countries and the increasing number of deaths,” he said on Tuesday. , during a regular press briefing in Geneva.
“My message is clear: “Do not underestimate this virus, it has surprised us and will continue to surprise us and it will continue to kill, unless we do more to provide the means of sanitation to the people who need it and to fight against disinformation on a global scale”, had insisted the director general, who can choose to follow or not the opinion of the Emergency Committee.
The 14th meeting of this Committee takes place almost three years to the day since it first recommended declaring COVID-19, a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of alert in the world. ' WHO.
Since then, this panel of experts meets every three months to discuss the pandemic and then reports to Dr. Tedros, in the form of recommendations.
Fridays, in his opening remarks at the opening of the meeting, he pointed out that “since the beginning of December, the number of weekly deaths reported worldwide has been increasing”.
“Additionally, the lifting of restrictions in China has led to an increase in the number of deaths in the most populous country in the world” and last week, of the nearly 40,000 deaths from COVID reported to the WHO, “more than half were reported from China.”
The disease has claimed 170,000 lives in the past two months.
Doctor Tedros regretted that too few people were properly vaccinated and that surveillance and genetic sequencing, which track the evolution of the virus and its movements, have dropped sharply.
This renders epidemiologists and those responsible for the fight against the epidemic more or less blind.
The emergency committee meeting is held in a hybrid format, with some participants in Geneva and others joining in line.
The Committee is chaired by the French doctor Didier Houssin and has 17 other members as well as 11 advisers.
The meeting is due to last Friday afternoon and the result proceedings are expected to be released in the coming days.
The Committee had declared the COVID 19 outbreak a USPPI (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) on January 30, 2020, while outside of China, less than 100 cases and no deaths had yet been recorded.
The alert and its somewhat convoluted name had failed to convince authorities and the general public of the urgency of the situation.
It had to wait until March 11 and the use of the word “pandemic” by the head of the WHO to make things happen s.