Focus | What does the WHO’s emergency decision mean for foreign trade?

0According to the International Health Regulations (2005), the “public health emergency of international concern” as determined by the World Health Organization refers to “through the international spread of the disease constitutes a public health risk to other countries, and may require coordinated international Unusual incidents of response measures”.



This definition means:

1. The situation is serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected;

2. The public health impact extends beyond the border of the affected country;

3. Immediate international action may be required.

WHO’s previous history has identified 5 “public health emergencies of international concern”. The earliest one was H1N1 influenza A (also known as “swine flu”) in Mexico and the southern United States in 2009. The most recent It is the Ebola epidemic in Congo (DRC) in 2019.

If it is determined that a public health emergency is “occurring”, WHO can issue recommendations to the State party.


Temporary advice

(1) If it is determined that a public health emergency of international concern is occurring, the Director-General shall issue temporary recommendations in accordance with procedures. Such temporary recommendations may be modified or extended as appropriate (including after determining that the public health emergency of international concern has ended). At this time, other temporary recommendations aimed at preventing or quickly detecting its comeback may also be issued as needed.

(2) Temporary recommendations may include sanitation measures to be taken by contracting parties or other contracting parties that have encountered public health emergencies of international concern on persons, luggage, goods, containers, vehicles, articles and/or postal parcels, with the purpose of preventing or Reduce the international spread of diseases and avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic.

(3) Temporary recommendations can be revoked at any time according to procedures, and should automatically expire three months after being announced. The interim proposal can be revised or extended for three months. The provisional proposal can be sustained at most until the second World Health Assembly after the public health emergency of international concern is determined.


Closely related to foreign trade here is the “recommendations for personnel, luggage, goods, containers, vehicles, articles and parcels”, as follows:

1. The recommendations issued by WHO to the State party on personnel may include the following opinions:

–  No need to take specific hygiene measures;

–  Review the history of travel in the affected area;

–  Review the medical examination certificate and any laboratory analysis results;

–  Need to do medical examination;

–  Review certificates of vaccination or other preventive measures;

–  Need to be vaccinated or take other preventive measures;

–  Conduct public health observation of suspects;

–  Implement quarantine or other sanitary measures on suspects;

–  Isolate the infected and conduct necessary treatment;

–  Trace people who have contact with suspects or infected persons;

–  No entry for suspects or infected persons;

–  Reject uninfected persons from entering the affected area; and

–  Carry out exit inspections and/or restrict the exit of people from affected areas.

2. The recommendations issued by WHO to States Parties on baggage, cargo, containers, vehicles, articles and postal parcels may include the following opinions:

–  No need to take specific hygiene measures;

–  Review the cargo manifest and sailing route;

–  Carry out inspections;

–  Review the certification of measures taken to eliminate infection or contamination when leaving or transiting;

–  Handling baggage, cargo, containers, vehicles, articles, postal parcels or skeletons to eliminate sources of infection or contamination (including disease vectors and hosts);

–  Take specific sanitary measures to ensure the safe handling and transportation of bones;

–  Isolation or quarantine;

–  If all existing treatment or operation methods are unsuccessful, seize and destroy infected or contaminated or suspected luggage, cargo, containers, vehicles, articles or postal parcels under surveillance; and

–  No departure or entry is allowed.

It is worth noting that PHEIC does not mean that my country has been designated as an epidemic area! It is temporarily recommended to evaluate once every three months. If we control the epidemic after three months, the PHEIC status will be over.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference held early this morning in Beijing time that the new coronavirus outbreak was listed as a “public health emergency of international concern” not because of China, but because of other countries. “This decision is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, the WHO still trusts China’s ability to control the epidemic”.



He emphasized that at present, countries “have no reason to take unnecessary measures to restrict tourism and trade.”

So far, we have not seen any countries have introduced any policies to restrict imports of Chinese manufacturing, and have not received any information about the suspension of shipping companies.

Work points closely related to foreign trade personnel
How to explain the current situation to foreign customers and explain the delay of the goods?

1) Notice of holiday extension:
Affected by a novel coronavirus, our government announced all enterprises will remain closed till February 9.
our government announced it will delay resumption of work to February 9.Your understanding and support will be highly appreciated.
In my opinion, there is no need to tell a long story. As a major economic country in the world, as soon as this incident happened, various media rushed to report it, and many customers knew something about it. Superfluous explanations can also cause unnecessary anxiety. To make a long story short, most customers can understand and greet.
2) If customers are worried about the spread of the epidemic, express confidence:
China is determined and capable of winning the battle against the coronavirus. We all take it seriously and follow the government

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Fujian Quanzhiu Zhongtai IMP. AND EXP. CO., LTD. » Focus | What does the WHO’s emergency decision mean for foreign trade?

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