Ministry of Health, responsible for managing epidemics. What role will the Ministry of the Interior play?

Romania implements a new regulation for the management of emergency situations related to epidemics and associated risks. According to the new document, the Ministry of Health becomes the main authority responsible for managing the risks generated by epidemics, while the Ministry of Internal Affairs plays a secondary role.

New regulation for managing epidemics – PHOTO Guliver / GettyImages

The Regulation, approved by Order of the Minister of Health no. 3.643/2024 and published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette, establishes the framework through which the Ministry of Health will manage emergency situations caused by epidemics and the risks associated with them, according to

Responsibilities of the Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health has the main role in managing the risks of epidemics caused by:

– Floods

– Earthquakes

– Epizootics/Zoonoses.

The management of emergency situations generated by epidemics consists in identifying, recording and evaluating the types of risk and their determining factors, notifying the interested parties, warning, alarming, limiting, removing or counteracting the negative effects produced as a result of the manifestation of the risk factors“, the document states.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs will have a secondary role and other ministries will have specific responsibilities only in certain areas of action.

Criteria for declaring an epidemic

The regulation establishes the criteria for declaring an epidemic:

  • Notification of an event that exceeds the management capacity at the county level.
  • Expansion of the affected geographic area or increase in the number of the affected population.
  • Occurrence of a severe communicable disease (indigenous or imported) and/or increase in the severity of the event.
  • A known high fatality disease or increased public/media interest in the incident.
  • National impact requiring enhanced measures.
  • A disease caused by a pathogen with a high potential for spreading or the WHO declaration of public health emergency of international importance (USPII), with possible implications for Romania.

Three activation levels are defined:

  • Level 1: Potential event, unproven/unconfirmed.
  • Level 2: Controllable event.
  • Level 3: Event requiring additional resources.

Activating the response is based on risk analysis, identification of all existing risks and prioritization of resources, including development of impact scenarios.

In case of epidemic risk, the response is coordinated by the Operational Center for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Health (COSU-MS).

Main threats

The main threats in the event of an epidemic, according to the regulation, include:

  • Affecting the health of a large number of people, especially vulnerable categories (children, the elderly, people with low immunity).
  • The occurrence of a large number of deaths in a short time, which can lead to difficulties in managing them.
  • Overburdening the medical system.