The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that Covid-19 remains a global emergency, nearly two and a half years after it was first declared. The Emergency Committee, made up of independent experts, said in a statement that rising cases, ongoing viral evolution and pressure on health services in a number of countries meant that the situation was still an emergency. Cases reported to WHO had risen by 30 per cent in the last fortnight, the statement said, although the committee accepted that increased population immunity, largely from vaccines, had seen a “decoupling” of cases from hospitalisations and deaths. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accepted the committee’s advice. The UN health agency first declared the highest level of alert, known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, for Covid-19 on January 30, 2020. Such a determination can help accelerate research, funding and international public health measures to contain a disease. Should Hong Kong give the red light to mainland-style Covid health codes? The WHO also advised immunocompromised and other vulnerable adults in Europe to get a second Covid-19 booster shot as new infections continue to rise across the continent. In a statement Tuesday it said countries should consider offering a second booster dose to specific at-risk groups, including older adults, health care workers and pregnant women. A second booster shot will help reduce the risk of severe disease and the burden on health systems as cases rise, said Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe. “As we go about our daily lives, we must remember that this virus is still with us and it’s still dangerous,” he said. Europe is at the centre of a resurgence in Covid-19 infections as more people mix at large-scale events and travel, the WHO said earlier this month. The ETAGE also recommended countries consider co-administering Covid vaccines and seasonal influenza vaccines, whenever feasible.