MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to declare the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency is correct but anti-epidemic measures must remain in place all the same, a Russian expert told TASS on Friday.
"The coronavirus is not gone. But it was quite expedient to end the public health emergency. The virus continues to circulate. It continues to be registered. But its impact on the human population is now a medical problem whereas it was a purely social problem when the coronavirus first appeared," said Dr. Gennady Onishchenko, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Vice President of the Russian Academy of Education.
He recalled that the highly contagious Arcturus strain continues to circulate.
"On the one hand, the WHO was right. On the other hand, the XBB.1.16 is a ‘variant of interest.’ The strain is more infectious than its direct ancestor Omicron. <…> This doesn’t mean that COVID doesn’t require any treatment," he added.
The expert did not rule out however that the epidemiological situation may worsen and recommended people get inoculated and observe preventive measures.
Earlier on Friday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency which had been in place since 2020.