The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that COVID-19 remains a global emergency, nearly 2-1/2 years after it was first declared.
The Emergency Committee, made up of independent experts, said in a statement that rising cases, ongoing viral evolution and pressure on health services in a number of countries meant that the situation was still an emergency.
Cases reported to WHO had risen by 30% in the last fortnight, the statement said, although the committee accepted that increased population immunity, largely from vaccines, had seen a "decoupling" of cases from hospitalisations and deaths.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accepted the committee's advice.
The U.N. health agency first declared the highest level of alert, known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, for COVID-19 on Jan. 30, 2020. Such a determination can help accelerate research, funding and international public health measures to contain a disease. (Reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Emma Farge; Editing by Catherine Evans)