SHARP JA partner the National Public Health Organization (NPHO) of Greece, in cooperation with the University of Thessaly Lab of Hygiene and Epidemiology, organised an International Tabletop Exercise entitled “Points of entry – control measures, contact tracing and cross-sectoral collaboration” in Athens on the 8th and 9th of December 2022. Participants in the hybrid exercise included 134 professionals from nineteen countries as well as the European Union, the ECDC, the WHO and other bodies.
The aim of the international exercise was to strengthen and guide the management of incidents at Points of Entry, through the implementation and application of best practices and the discussion of appropriate methods and procedures. Another objective was to plan and implement at a national level effective practices for the control of cross-border spread as well as to depict the overall state of preparedness of involved countries using modern tools.
In the exercise, it was possible to measure the level of preparedness of all stakeholders, identify weaknesses and to improve operational response in possible health crises. There was also reference to risk communication which is a critical and major aspect in public health crisis management, particularly cross-border incidents.
This exercise was part of the work of Work Packages 8 and 3 of SHARP Joint Action. SHARP JA aims to strengthen preparedness in the EU against serious cross-border threats to health and support the implementation of International Health Regulations (2005). By strengthening member states’ existing capabilities and supporting improvement in identified IHR capacity gaps, the SHARP Joint Action contributes to a safer environment for all EU citizens.