Communicable diseases represent a major global public health threat. In fact, owing to the globalisation of travel and trade, these diseases cross borders at an unprecedented rate and multiply exposure and mutual vulnerability of people around the globe. A watershed in infectious disease surveillance and control was marked by the adoption of the WHO International Health Regulations 2005, which is the only global binding instrument governing the reporting of disease outbreaks and the prevention of their international spread. Given the ever-increasing interconnection between public health, human rights protection and international security, this chapter offers a critical analysis of the application of the Regulations in times of public health emergencies of international concern through the lens of the health-human rights and the health-security paradigms. The chapter advances proposals for possible improvements in the implementation of the Regulations to overcome major concerns raised by non-compliance with IHR obligations.
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