World Health Organization Lift of Global Public Health Emergency for COVID-19
The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and the Chief Medical Officer Professor Breda Smyth have welcomed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration that COVID-19 is no longer a global public health emergency.
The declaration followed the 15th meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on COVID-19.
The announcement was made by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who declared that “COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).”
Welcoming the announcement, Minister Donnelly said, “the WHO’s announcement marks a symbolic end to the pandemic which has had a profound impact on our lives over the last three years. It has affected our health, our economy, our everyday activities, and caused devastation through the loss of so many lives.”
“While COVID-19 remains a global health threat, we have learned to live with it and return to normal life. I would like to once again thank all of the health professionals and front-line workers who have played a huge part in Ireland’s COVID-19 response. I also want to pay tribute to the public for their adherence to public health restrictions and for helping to protect us all by participating in our COVID-19 vaccination programme.”
Professor Breda Smyth said, “the COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging time for everyone and I wish to thank the public for the solidarity displayed over the past number of years. The success of Ireland’s vaccination programme in building population-wide immunity has played a huge role in preventing thousands of hospitalisations and deaths and has enabled the return to normal social and economic life.”
“It is vital that those eligible for primary COVID-19 vaccination and who have not yet received it, and those eligible for boosters, continue to come forward to strengthen their immunity and prevent severe disease. It’s also very important that people’s individual choices with regard to personal protective behaviours continue to be respected. Our national public health advice will continue to be informed by World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidance.”