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Friday, January 15th, 2021

Council of Europe cautions on the need for coordinated response to bioterrorism

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The Council of Europe Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CDCT) issued a statement on the importance of a coordinated response to bioterrorism.

The committee said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of modern societies to viral infections. The intentional use of a pathogen or biological agent for terrorism could cause damage – both human and economic – on a far greater scale than “traditional” terrorist attacks.

The response must be coordinated, mobilizing a wide range of human and material resources across the member states of the Council of Europe. For example, the interconnection of communication systems is an essential tool for crisis management. Also, the training of civil security and health actors on different types of scenarios is a fundamental element in the effective implementation of a plan to combat biological attacks. The response should also include health and legal monitoring based on a common surveillance system capable of detecting suspicious cases.

The Council of Europe Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CDCT) currently has no concrete evidence of a heightened risk of bioterrorist attack due to the pandemic. However, it will continue to work with member states to develop common legal standards, facilitate contacts among competent authorities, and organize a coordinated response to emerging threats.