Monkeypox: WHO declares a ‘public health emergency’

The World Health Organization on 23 July declared the outbreak of monkeypox ‘a public health emergency of international concern’. Although the members on the WHO committee failed to reach a consensus, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus decided to go ahead with the declaration anyway.

The decision follows reports that at least 75 countries have detected monkeypox, with at least 16,000 cases been registered so far, according to the New York Times.

While some experts believe that monkeypox constitutes an international problem, the nature of monkey pox is different from Covid-19, which is the latest disease to be classified the same way. Among other things, it is less contagious. Infected people usually feel the symptoms much sooner than those from Covid-19 and thus withdraw from socialisation much sooner reducing the risk of infecting others. All other things being equal, this should also lower the risk of a powerful economic impact on the affected countries and an increase in inequality like we saw with Covid-19.