In its Emergency Response Framework, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined an emergency as a situation that has an impact on the lives and well-being of a large number of people or a significant percentage of a population and requires substantial multisectoral assistance . For a WHO response, there must be clear public health consequences. In addition, under the International Health Regulations (IHR), adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2005, a public health emergency of international concern is defined as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations: (i) to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and (ii) to potentially require a coordinated international response” . Such events may include, inter alia, outbreaks of infectious diseases, hazardous chemical spills or releases of radiation.
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