A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of "an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response", formulated when a situation arises that is "serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected", which "carries implications for public health beyond the affected state's national border" and "may require immediate international action". Under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), states have a legal duty to respond promptly to a PHEIC.
Today, The WHO declared the outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus, centered on Wuhan in central China, a PHEIC. The WHO confirmed that the novel coronavirus has spread from the People’s Republic of China to 20 other countries. Currently, there are over 7,818 cases confirmed globally, affecting 20 countries in five of the six WHO regions.
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