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What is meant by a state of health emergency in Italy and in the world?


What is a state of public health emergency in Italy and globally: what it means and what are the differences.

May 5, 2023 will remain a historic date for the whole world. The World Health Organization has in fact declared the global state of public health emergency over for the Covid-19 pandemic, effectively allowing many countries to return to pre-Covid "normality". A splendid news, arrived more than three years after the beginning of a real nightmare. But what is meant by a state of emergency in Italy and worldwide? What are the differences ? Let's find out together everything you need to know.

State of health emergency: what it means in Italy

A state of health emergency is a situation in which an epidemic or infectious disease poses a serious and immediate threat to public health. In Italy, a state of health emergency was declared following the spread of the COVID-19 virus in March 2020 and was subsequently extended several times.


In this state of emergency, extraordinary measures are taken to prevent and contain the spread of the disease, such as the closure of non-essential schools and businesses, the ban on public gatherings, the obligation to wear masks and social distancing. The government also has special powers to make decisions and implement policies that aim to protect public health.

State of global and territorial health emergency

A state of health emergency for the World Health Organization is an extraordinary situation in which an unexpected or existing disease represents a serious risk to public health internationally and requires a globally coordinated response. The declaration of a state of international health emergency by WHO is a warning of the utmost importance to all Member States and allows the Organization to coordinate efforts globally to prevent and contain the spread of communicable diseases. This declaration gives WHO additional powers to coordinate and support government efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

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A territorial health emergency, on the other hand, occurs when a serious and sudden health situation occurs in a specific geographical area, such as a city, region or country, and requires a coordinated response to prevent the spread of the disease and protect life. public health. Sometimes it can be limited to a single event , such as the spread of a virus like Ebola or an industrial accident that produces dangerous chemicals. In other cases, it can develop gradually , as happened with the COVID-19 crisis which led to the declaration of a territorial health emergency around the world. When a community health emergency is declared, extraordinary measures are put in place to manage the situation, such as closing schools and non-essential businesses, promoting personal hygiene practices, and quarantining people exposed to the disease.

What happens when the WHO state of emergency ends

At the end of a global state of health emergency, the situation is carefully assessed to determine whether the factors that led to the declaration of a state of emergency have been resolved. If the World Organization determines that the threat to global public health has been mitigated, the state of emergency can be lifted .

In addition, WHO can provide recommendations to help countries recover from the health crisis and work with them to implement future prevention and disaster response strategies. However, if the threat persists, it can also continue to closely monitor the situation and keep the state of emergency in place.

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