WHO Issues New COVID-19 Recommendations
Professor Preban Aavitsland, head of the review committee that advised WHO on the standing recommendations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new standing recommendations for COVID-19 for member states, now that the virus outbreak is no longer classified as a pandemic.

The recommendations are seven-fold, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus told a media briefing on Wednesday.

“First, all countries should update their national COVID-19 programmes using the WHO preparedness and response plan to move towards longer-term sustained management of COVID-19,” said Tedros.

“Second, we urge all countries to sustain collaborative surveillance for COVID-19 to detect significant changes in the virus, as well as trends in disease severity and population immunity.

“Third, all countries should report COVID-19 data to WHO or in open sources, especially on death and severe disease, genetic sequences and data on vaccine effectiveness.”

Only 25% of countries are still reporting deaths to the WHO, while just 11% continue to report on hospitalisations to the UN health body.

The remaining points request that countries continue to offer COVID-19 vaccinations; conduct research to generate evidence for COVID-19 prevention and control; deliver optimal clinical care for COVID-19; and ensure “equitable access to safe, effective and quality assured vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19”.

“The main approach, moving forward, involves immunising those who are most vulnerable to severe outcomes and providing effective treatment for those who become infected,” said Professor Preban Aavitsland, head of the review committee that advised WHO on the standing recommendations.

“Repeated infections among low-risk individuals will contribute to maintaining population immunity, although new waves of infection are possible, due to waning immunity and evolution of new variants,” said Aavitsland, who heads the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Health Care at the University of Bergen in Norway.

“Most people, however, remain at a very small risk of severe COVID-19 disease,” he said. 

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