Explained: What makes WHO declare a disease outbreak a public health emergency

News:The World Health Organization(WHO) has declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern(PHEIC).


About Public Health Emergency of International Concern(PHEIC):

  • It is defined as an extraordinary event that constitutes a public health risk to other States through the international spread of the disease and potentially requires a coordinated international response.
  • The responsibility of declaring an event as an emergency lies with the Director-General of the WHO and requires the convening of a committee of members.

Implications of PHEIC being declared:

  • A declaration of an Health emergency would lead to a boost in public health measures, funding and resources to prevent and reduce international spread.
  • The measures could also include recommendations on trade and travel, including airport screening of passengers.
  • In the past decade,WHO has declared public health emergencies for outbreaks including swine flu, polio and Ebola.