WHO to decide whether COVID-19 remains global health emergency

The World Health Organization will convene an expert committee on Thursday to discuss whether COVID-19 remains a global health emergency.

The world health watchdog declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern in January, 2020.

It has been holding meetings periodically to discuss whether to declare the end of the emergency.

The latest meeting will bring together experts and health officials from around the world.

In their previous session in January, the committee members concluded that it was too early to declare an end to the emergency. They cited factors such as uncertainties about the risk of emerging variants.

The WHO says the death toll from COVID-19 increased early this year following a rapid surge of infections in China, but the figure has since been dropping.

Nonetheless, the number of deaths during the past four weeks topped 10,000.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing last week that the UN agency is hopeful that sometime this year it will be able to declare an end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern.

He added, "But this virus is here to stay."

The meeting will take place as the international community continues to ease its response to the virus.