From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PHEIC
Mains level : Global health emergencies
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel Coronavirus infection a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In the past decade, WHO has declared public health emergencies for outbreaks including swine flu, polio and Ebola.
What is PHEIC?
Definition: Under the International Health Regulations (IHR), a public health emergency is defined as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations: to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.
What criteria does the WHO follow to declare PHEIC?
- PHEIC is declared in the event of some “serious public health events” that may endanger international public health.
- 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 a PHEIC being declared
- There are some implications of declaring a PHEIC for the host country, which in the case of the coronavirus is China.
- Declaring a PHEIC may lead to restrictions on travel and trade.
- However, several countries have already issued advisories to their citizens to avoid travelling to China, while others are airlifting their citizens from it.