Covid-19 - the WHO and the UN (July 2023)

Thank you for contacting me about the proposed changes to the International Health Regulations.

The International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) are a key part of the global health security system to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease.

The original International Sanitary Regulations, which preceded the International Health Regulations, were adopted in 1969 and amended several times: in 1973, in 1981, and in 2005. The third edition (2005) has been amended twice – in 2014 and 2022. The revisions of the regulations illustrate their fluid nature, adapting to the health challenges that the world faces at that time. As medical knowledge changes, I believe it is only right that health regulations change too. 


Regarding the current amendments, HM Government (HMG) is eager to ensure that countries' obligations under the IHR remain fit for purpose and reflect the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic. Measures that HMG wish to see include a stronger global commitment to effective disease surveillance, early reporting of potential health threats, and transparency in sharing information. I understand that HMG continues to formulate positions during ongoing textual negotiations and has engaged other World Health Organisation member states on the matter, including through the Working Group on Amendments to the IHR (2005). 


The United Kingdom does not plan to leave the World Health Organisation or the United Nations. While both organisation are imperfect, they are part of an important international framework to foster co-operation and stability. I believe that these organisations must work with countries rather than require countries to cede any sovereignty to them.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,


Sally-Ann Hart MP.