Today marks six months since Covid-19 was declared a public health emergency of international concern, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said earlier this week.
“This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations,” Tedros said during a briefing on Monday. “But it’s easily the most severe.”
Previous health emergencies of this level of concern have included Ebola, Zika and H1N1. Tedros said that nearly 16 million coronavirus cases and more than 640,000 deaths worldwide have been reported to WHO.
“And the pandemic continues to accelerate,” he said. “In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled.”
Tedros said Monday that he will reconvene WHO’s emergency committee, as required under International Health Regulations, later in the week to re-evaluate the pandemic.
He said that he was very proud of WHO, its people and their efforts, as they have “worked tirelessly to support countries to prepare for and respond to this virus” over the last six months.
And there is still work to be done, Tedros said.
“We have done an incredible amount, but we still have a long, hard road ahead of us,” Tedros said.