Yesterday The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer considered an international public health emergency.. It has been 1,191 days since the virus was declared on January 31, 2020, which claimed 20 million lives worldwide, according to agency estimates, although the official figure is 6.9 million deaths.

During these three years, restrictive measures, control and publication of data have been loosened in the countries. In Ecuador, the latest available on the website of the Ministry of Health, as far as vaccinations are concerned, is from March 16, 2023. 39,564,195 doses have been administered, but with the complete scheme there are 14,240,587. From the first week of 2021 to the 16th week of 2023, 12,290 deaths from COVID-19 were registered, between confirmed and suspected due to symptoms.

2020 was the most difficult year. During the entire pandemic, there were more than 36,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the country.

The WHO declaration does not imply that the threat of the virus has disappeared. The same director-general of the entity, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, asked governments to remain vigilant and respond to a disease that is here to stay and continues to land people in emergency rooms and even death.

Apart from the fact that the decree lifting the state of emergency implies that it no longer exists as a tool to urgently mobilize resources, take restrictive measures or approve medicines with fewer procedures, it would be desirable for governments, including the Ecuadorian one, to analyze local conditions for prevention. We will have to wait for measures on whether the vaccine – which does not prevent infection but creates antibodies – will be publicly maintained or found in the private sector for those who require it. Also later studies on the effects. Citizens are responsible for minimal biosecurity measures that protect even from other viruses. The end of the international public health emergency must not mean oblivion. (OR)