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    National Governance of Public Health Responses in a Pandemic?

    Dobbs, Mary (2020) National Governance of Public Health Responses in a Pandemic? European Journal of Risk Regulation, 11 (2). pp. 240-248. ISSN 1867-299X

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    The world is currently facing the worst pandemic in a century and we were caught unprepared. COVID-19 has proven highly contagious and with severe consequences that are still unfolding. As of 16 April 2020, there were over 2 million confirmed cases and over 136,000 related deaths reported worldwide.Footnote1 Over 1 million of those confirmed cases were in the preceding 14 days, with the USA accounting for nearly half of those. Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now warning that the world is about to suffer the worst economic recession since the Great Depression in the 1920s.Footnote2 However, although the World Health Organization (WHO) provides scientific expertise globally and some other examples of limited centralisation exist (eg the European Union (EU) provides for minimum quality standards regarding medical products or food), public health is primarily governed at a national level or regional level (within the nation state). Consequently, despite some overlap in mechanisms such as contact tracing and social distancing, responses have varied considerably in objectives, timing and degree – even within the EU or across the USA. This raises the fundamental question of whether national decision-making is effective or indeed appropriate in the context of the COVID-19 or similar future pandemics,Footnote3 or whether a supranational or international approach would be more appropriate. In order to address this question, the nature of COVID-19 and the policy responses are analysed through the lens of subsidiarity.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Cite as: Dobbs, M. (2020). National Governance of Public Health Responses in a Pandemic? European Journal of Risk Regulation, 11(2), 240-248. doi:10.1017/err.2020.39
    Keywords: National Governance; Public Health Responses; Pandemic; COVID-19;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 15618
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Mary Dobbs
    Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2022 16:56
    Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Risk Regulation
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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