Controlling a pandemic by controlling people?

Ethical dilemmas during health emergencies

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 | 15:00-16:30 | Kursaal

Organised by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, national governments took complex policy decisions for the good of public health and with the aim to limit transmission and save lives. Some of these public health measures raised difficult ethical questions about proportionality when individuals’ freedoms were restricted in the name of the common good.

In this session, we will look at the lessons learned from the current pandemic and reflect on the complexity of the measures taken in the pursuit of bringing a pandemic under control and protecting lives, whilst also safeguarding peoples’ wellbeing, respecting individual rights and protecting livelihoods.

We will reflect on whether public health ethics should be integrated in future preparedness planning and how we can work together in a multisectoral way. What evidence and mechanisms are needed to embed these into governance structures with a view to a healthier, more equitable and sustainable future for all?

EU Member State representatives will also share their experiences, and talk about the rationale and processes behind their public health efforts during the pandemic.

Join us in the discussions where we aim to actively engage with you.

Session recording


  • Andrea Ammon, Director, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • Karin Tegmark Wisell, Director General, Public Health Agency of Sweden
  • Rui Portugal, Deputy Director General of Health, Directorate General of Health, Portugal
  • Geneviève Chêne, Director General, Santé Publique France
  • Andreas Reis, Co-Lead of the Health Ethics & Governance Unit, World Health Organisation
  • Ludovica Banfi, Programme Manager, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
  • Kaisa Immonen, Director of Policy, European Patients’ Forum


  • Nick Fahy, Research Group Director, RAND Europe

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