WHO says no longer uses "pandemic" category, but virus still emergency

WHO says no longer uses "pandemic" category, but virus still emergency

GENEVA, Feb 24 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) no longer has a process for declaring a pandemic, but the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak remains an international emergency, a spokesman said on Monday.

The Geneva-based agency, which declared the H1N1 swine flu outbreak a pandemic in 2009, declared the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China in December a public health emergency of International concern, known as a PHEIC, on Jan. 30.

“There is no official category (for a pandemic),” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said. “WHO does not use the old phasing system that some people may be familiar with from 2009. Under the IHR (International Health Regulations), WHO has declared a public health emergency of international concern.” (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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