The need for effective early detection and timely surveillance for a robust pandemic and epidemic early warning and preparedness has been widely discussed amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which suddenly erupted worldwide. This need is further established by various other hazards reported in many countries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the failure of early detection of pathogens and their source of origin has been largely connected with global transmission and severe outbreaks in many contexts. Therefore, effective early detection, timely surveillance and early warning are key aspects of a successful response to an epidemic or pandemic. Hence, this paper aims to identify key elements and stages of an effective epidemic and pandemic early warning (EW) and response system. Further, the paper analyses inter-connections of the elements of the early warning system, focusing on the COVID-19 and multi-hazard context. The systematic literature review method was used to collect data from electronic databases. Results suggest that epidemiological surveillance & detection, primary screening of raw data & information, risk and vulnerability assessments, prediction and decision-making, alerts & early warnings are critical components of epidemic and pandemic EW. In addition, response-control & mitigation, preparedness-preventive strategies, and reducing transmission, elimination and eradication of the disease are integrated components of the early warning and response ecosystem that largely depend on effective early warnings. The significance of integrating epidemic and pandemic EW with other EWs to operate as multi-hazard early warning systems is also analysed.