The Covid-19 will soon be no more dangerous than the seasonal flu, assured Friday the World Health Organization, which hopes to lower its maximum alert level again this year. The WHO has also again asked Beijing to be more transparent in terms of sharing data on Covid. These accusations come after international experts discovered that China had published online - before recently removing it for an undetermined reason - new genetic data on samples taken in January 2020 in the market of Wuhan, the city where the virus was detected for the first time. Three years after the start of the Covid, its origin still remains a mystery.
Alongside him, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "very pleased to see that for the first time ever, the weekly number of reported deaths over the past four weeks has been below the one recorded when we first used the word 'pandemic' three years ago". "We are certainly in a much better position today than at any time during the pandemic," he observed.
He expressed "confidence" that the WHO could lower its maximum alert level "this year". The WHO declared a "public health emergency of international concern" on January 30, 2020 - when the world had fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China - but it wasn't until Dr Tedros called the pandemic situation, in March 2020, that the world had taken full measure of the seriousness of the health threat.
It was not until last Sunday that the WHO was informed of this, not by China, but by scientists. The data, which comes from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, relates to samples taken from Huanan market in Wuhan in 2020, including from raccoon dogs.
Transmission to humans by an intermediate animal present on the Wuhan market or laboratory leak, several theories circulate on the origin of Covid. The new Chinese data provide additional elements, said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, but many questions still remain open, in particular on the animals sold on the market of the Chinese city: were they domestic animals or not and where did they come from?