Geneva — Six months after sounding the international alarm on the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday (Aug 1) that the global risk level of the virus continues to be “very high”, noting this would be a “lengthy pandemic”.
The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee for Covid-19 convened in this Swiss city on Friday (July 31).
WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus, speaking at the meeting, highlighted the advances in the global understanding of the virus since the Jan 30 declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
The WHO statement included key areas the Emergency Committee needed to address as the organisation deems the global risk level of Covid-19 to be “very high”. It was unanimously agreed upon that the virus still constitutes a PHEIC.
The committee highlighted the “anticipated lengthy duration of this Covid-19 pandemic, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts”.
As a result, the panel encouraged all individuals, particularly the younger generation, and communities to continue to play an active role in preventing and controlling the virus transmission.
The WHO chief duly noted the advice given by the panel, the key points of which were included in the released statement.
The panel requested that WHO continue rapidly communicating lessons learned and best practices from the Covid-19 pandemic and national intra-action reviews.
“Continue to coordinate and mobilise global and regional multilateral organisations, partners and networks for robust political commitment and resourcing of Covid-19 pandemic preparedness and response, including for the development of vaccines and therapeutics,” it said.
The panel asked for nuanced, pragmatic guidance on criteria for appropriate Covid-19 response activities to be provided to reduce the risk of response fatigue in the context of socio-economic pressures.
It also called for accelerated research into the remaining SARS-CoV-2 critical unknowns, such as the animal source and potential animal reservoirs, and improve understanding of the epidemiology and severity of Covid-19.
It was requested for the WHO to continue working with partners to counter mis/disinformation and infodemics by developing and disseminating clear, tailored messaging on the virus and its effects. “Encourage and support individuals and communities to follow recommended public health and social measures,” the panel said.
The next Emergency Committee meeting will take place within three months, at the discretion of the WHO chief.
Read the full statement here.