PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY BILL: A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO DEAL WITH PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCIES
The Public Health Emergency Bill will take a proactive approach in dealing with public health emergencies.
Attorney General John Muria Junior confirmed in an interview with SIBC News.
Mr Muria said, our current laws that regulate public health emergencies are more reactive than proactive when dealing with health issues in times of emergency.
“Our current acts that dealt with public health emergencies fall short on dealing with health issues in a reactive rather than a proactive way. For example, a person can only be quarantined only if the person is in contact with any infected person or object. This means there must be a cause to quarantine a person,” Mr Muria said.
Mr Muria added, the bill aims to take into consideration that regardless if the person is in contact with any infected person or not, the person shall undergo mandatory quarantine and testing.
The Attorney General said, the bill will incorporate current emergency regulations into an act of parliament.
He said, the bill takes into considerations the current weaknesses and strength of the regulations currently enforced during this COVID-19 pandemic.
He added, the bill will also give powers to certain government officials during public health emergencies.
“For example, in terms of quarantine stations, currently the regulation provides that the Prime Minister can declare a site as quarantine station. Instead of the Prime Minister making the declaration, the Minister of Health may make the declaration. This depends on the outcome of consultations,” Mr Muria said.
Mr Muria stated, the bill is just a replication of the current regulations into a legislation.
He said, the bill will also have a provision to make a declaration of a public health emergency.
The bill is currently in its consultation stage and is expected to be tabled in parliament soon.
By Gina Maka’a