The WHO declares:

that COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

Is it true that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern?

  • 9
    A statement by the organisation responsible for defining it that it no longer meets the definition is not a matter of reasonable scientific skepticism. This isn't a question on-topic here.
    – Nij
    May 6, 2023 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


The term "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" (PHEIC) is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization.

This isn't a question about the opinions on the population, or random doctors. The only people who can determine whether an event is or isn't a PHEIC is the World Health Organization.

As you have pointed out, the committee of the World Health Organization responsible for determining whether an event is a PHEIC recently declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was no longer a PHEIC.

So, your link completely answers the question. The WHO cannot be wrong about this, because theirs are the opinions that matter in this regard.

  • ah, so a public health emergency of international concern isn't necessarily a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
    – user253751
    May 7, 2023 at 5:31

As noted in the same text

The Committee considered the three criteria of a PHEIC: whether COVID-19 continues to constitute 1) an extraordinary event, 2) a public health risk to other States through the international spread, and 3) potentially requires a coordinated international response. They discussed the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic. They acknowledged that, although SARS-CoV-2 has been and will continue circulating widely and evolving, it is no longer an unusual or unexpected event.

The WHO had been preparing this move for some months now. A couple of months earlier they drew a distinction between a PHEIC and a pandemic. Essentially, in their view, a PHEIC can and should be declared before a pandemic proper begins, and can thus hopefully stave off the latter. OTOH, regarding Covid-19, they argued that

The Committee was informed that, globally, 13.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. Currently, 89% of health workers and 82% of adults over 60 years have completed the primary series (the initial one or two doses recommended as per the vaccine schedule), although coverage in these priority groups varies in different regions.

The WHO director accepted the recommendation of Committee to end the PHEIC. In his words:

For more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend, with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection, mortality decreasing and the pressure on health systems easing. This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before COVID-19.

That's a semi-subtle nod that many countries had ended or were going to end their national version of a health emergency declaration/measures soon-ish, regardless of what the WHO said.

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