With over 16,000 cases and five deaths being reported from around 75 countries due to monkeypox, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday finally declared the outbreak a global health emergency of international concern.
The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared, “I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”
He also said, “WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region where we assess the risk as high.”
It further said that the expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that now qualifies as a global emergency.
The statement also said further that it is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment.
Tedros added, “So in short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations.”
“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” he added.
The WHO had previously declared emergencies for public health issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, the Zika virus in Latin America in 2016, and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.
Meanwhile, India has confirmed three cases of monkeypox, all reported in Kerala.
On July 22, India reported its third confirmed monkeypox case in Kerala’s Mallapuram district. Veena George, Kerala Health Minister said, “A 35-year-old man contracted the infection and is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital where he was admitted for fever after returning from UAE on July 6.”