The Public Health Defence Council is a formation of the Defence and National Security Council responsible for crisis public health decisions.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Public Health Defence Council meetings have been held to coordinate the national crisis policy.

The Public Health Defence Council includes the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Solidarity and Health, the Minister for the Armed Forces, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, and the Minister of Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion, who may be joined by members of major public health institutions.

Their decisions draw on the recommendations of an autonomous, independent COVID-19 Scientific Council that was created in March 2020 at the initiative of the Minister for Solidarity and Health, which is made up of 13 experts who draw on international research and can invite external contributors. The Scientific Council meets daily and issues public recommendations that are open for consultation.

The Public Health Defence Council may also draw on the opinions of another body, the Analysis, Research and Expertise Committee (CARE), created by the French Government in March 2020 to advise it in the fight against the pandemic.

Public Health Defence Council meeting of 16 December 2020 © Presidency of the Republic