Questions and answers on COVID-19

Current situation as of June 2023

Since it first appeared in 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread globally, infecting millions of individuals worldwide. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of COVID-19 constituted a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). On 11 March 2020, the Director-General of WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Since then, the global rollout of vaccines from 2021 has dramatically reduced the burden of COVID-19 even as new, more transmissible variants have emerged.

On 4 May 2023, the WHO Director-General determined that COVID-19 is no longer a PHEIC. He highlighted that whilst there are higher levels of population immunity and fewer hospitalisations and deaths, there are still uncertainties related to how the SARS-CoV-2 might evolve.

As of June 2023, SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate in the EU/EEA with varying intensity. In the past 12 months, there have been waves of infection around every two to three months, with an overall downward trend in the height of the associated peaks in reported cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions, and deaths.

ECDC continues to monitor for the emergence of new variants of concern, assess immunity in the population as well as trends in cases, hospitalisations and deaths, following the end of the PHEIC.

Page last updated 20 Dec 2022