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  • Public Health Emergency of International Concern


    A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO). The declaration is promulgated by that body's Emergency Committee operating under International Health Regulations (IHR). First introduced in 2005, to date there have been four PHEIC declarations.

  • Emergency Powers Act (Northern Ireland) 1926


    The Emergency Powers Act (Northern Ireland) 1926 (16 & 17 Geo. 5 c. 8) was an Act of the Parliament of Northern Ireland that was passed for the purpose of making provision for the protection of the community in Northern Ireland in cases of emergency. The Act gave the Governor of Northern Ireland the authority to declare a state of emergency and issue proclamations if: "...at any time it appears to the Governor of Northern Ireland that any action has been taken or is immediately threatened by any persons or body of persons of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be calculated, by interfering with the supply and distribution of food, water, fuel, or light, or with the means of locomotion, to deprive the community in Northern Ireland, or any substantial portion of that community, of the essentials of life..." Proclamations of emergency would be in force until the Governor themselves revoked it. The Governor, by Order in the Privy Council of Northern Ireland, would also issue regulations to secure the 'essentials of life to the community' and give powers to the relevant Minister of the government of Northern Ireland to also secure essentials, as defined above. Regulations had to be laid before Parliament as soon as they were issued and could not be used to 'make it an offence for any person or persons to take part in a strike, or peacefully to persuade any other person or persons to take part in a strike' or take away trials. The maximum punishment for breaking a regulation would be prison 'with or without hard labour, for a term of three months, or a fine of one hundred pounds, or both such imprisonment and fine, together with the forfeiture of any goods or money in respect of which the offence has been committed'. Regulations could also be revised or added to. The Act was amended by the Emergency Powers (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 1964. On 19 May 1974 Merlyn Rees, the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, signed a proclamation of a State of Emergency in the region under the amended Act, following the outbreak of the Ulster Workers' Council strike which eventually led to the collapse of the Sunningdale Agreement. The Act was repealed by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

  • Public health emergency (United States)


    In the United States, a public health emergency declaration releases resources meant to handle an actual or potential public health crisis. Recent examples include incidents of flooding, severe weather, and the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano described it as a "declaration of emergency preparedness." The National Disaster Medical System Federal Partners Memorandum of Agreement defines a public health emergency as "an emergency need for health care medical services to respond to a disaster, significant outbreak of an infectious disease, bioterrorist attack or other significant or catastrophic event. For purposes of NDMS activation, a public health emergency may include but is not limited to, public health emergencies declared by the Secretary of HHS Health and Human Services under 42 U.S.C. 247d, or a declaration of a major disaster or emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), 42 U.S.C. 5121-5206)." The declaration of public health emergency in the March 2009 flood of the Red River in North Dakota was made under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act. Under section 1135 of the Social Security Act, this declaration permits the state government to request waivers of certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Office. Examples include allowing Medicare health plan beneficiaries to go out of network, allowing critical access hospitals to take more than the statutorily mandated limit of 25 patients, and not counting the expected longer lengths of stay for evacuated patients against the 96-hour average. FEMA - 7797 - Photograph by Jocelyn Augustino taken on 03-12-2003 in District of Columbia In the swine flu outbreak, the declaration allowed the distribution of a federal stockpile of 12 million doses of Tamiflu to places where states could quickly get their share if they decide they need it, with priority going to the five states with known cases. Because Obama's choice for Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, had not yet been confirmed, the public announcement of the emergency was made by President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano. However, the formal determination of a public health emergency was made by Charles Johnson, acting HHS secretary, under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. § 247d. A military health emergency is defined by the NDMS as "an emergency need for hospital services to support the armed forces for casualty care arising from a major military operation, disaster, significant outbreak of an infectious disease, bioterrorist attack, or other significant or catastrophic event."

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