The World Health Organization on Friday said it was downgrading COVID-19 and no longer characterizing it as a global health emergency.
The U.N. health agency first declared the coronavirus to be an international crisis on Jan. 30, 2020.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the change during a media briefing held with reporters at the agency's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
But he clarified that this does not mean the pandemic is over.
"It is with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency," he said. "However, that does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat. Last week, COVID-19 claimed a life every three minutes -- and that's just the deaths we know about."
The downgrade comes with the pandemic on a "downward trend" for more than a year due to growing immunity among the global population -- both from vaccination and infection -- as well as a decreasing number of deaths, according to Tedros. This has also led to health systems no longer feeling as a much of a burden as they once did.
"This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before," he said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.