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Legal Analysis of COVID-19 pandemic: An Irrefutable Curse for Bangladesh

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Currently we all are well informed of a disease which has been spread throughout the world as a living curse for human race. The effect is so severe that people are even panicked to death. COVID-19 is a new kind of contiguous disease which has been spread all over the world. A virus, called the SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME CORONAVIRUS 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been found to be the cause of the disease.

The name corona virus  has originated from the Latin word ‘Corona’, meaning “crown or halo”. The novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. The Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore said that,

“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it. We may not know enough about the virus’s impact on children or how many may be affected – but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are keys. Time is not on our side.”

The COVID-19 has affected 199 countries around the world with a highest death toll in Spain and highest affected in United States so far according to the latest report of WORLDOMETER. Till now, in Bangladesh, the total affected are 48 and with 5 deaths have taken place in this country which is quite concerning, considering the death rates of other countries. As Bangladesh is a densely populated country, there is a high chance that people will fall victim of corona attack in an alarming rate if proper steps are not been taken within the shortest possible time.

Right to health is one of the basic human rights of every human being. Right now Bangladesh, as well as the whole world’s public health is in grave danger. The Constitution of Bangladesh, in Article 15 says that,

“It shall be a fundamental responsibility of the state to attain through planned economic growth a constant increase of productive forces and a steady improvement in the material and cultural standard of living of the people the provisions of basic necessities of life including food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care.

Also Article-18 of the constitution says that, “the state shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the improvement of the public health as among its primary duties.”

Based on this provision, some of the measures need to immediately and adequately be taken by the government, such as:

  1. Provide personal protective equipment: As it is stated in Article-18 that the State has a responsibility to improve the public health, thus, in this global pandemic, government must ensure PPE to the doctors, armies, who are working for and among the corona infected patients. The government must without a delay provide them prominent safety equipment and take all necessary measures required to safe the affected as well as non-affected people of our country to fulfill the fundamental right of a citizen in pursuance to Article-32 of the Constitution .
  2. Lockdown: It is so far the best step to be taken in the current situation, to lockdown the areas, where patients are found, infected with this virus, as this is contagious disease, it won’t take time to spread.
  3. Provide accurate information: It is the fundamental right of the citizens to know all the events which are happening within the country. As in Article 39 of the Constitution freedom of the press is guaranteed, so government should not by any means try to conceal matters relating to the corona cases, as this can cause adverse effect upon its citizens.
  4. Stopping the tendency of hoarding of food products: As there is a huge probability of lockdown the general people are panicking and those who have money are trying to stock food products as much as they can. But as a result the price level will get higher and the poor will have nothing to eat. Article 19 of the Constitution says that “The state shall endeavor to ensure equality of opportunity to all citizens.”
  1. Provide facilities for poor people: Already some areas of the country are lockdown and the number of such areas will eventually rise. So, the poor day laborer, rickshaw drivers, will face an adversity in earning their livelihood, which will be no less dangerous than the virus attack, hunger can be termed as the ‘universal virus’ for this section of people. So, government must take measures to supply foods to them until the situation gets normalized.
  2. Provide shelter to homeless people: Mostly, people who live under the sky, in footpaths, have higher risk of falling victim to the virus. They don’t have any security against the pandemic. Government should provide shelter for those homeless people so that they don’t get affected by.
  3. Make the ignorant people aware: It is the duty of the government to spread awareness as much as possible about the virus attack and also spread knowledge about the preventive measures which should be taken by the people.
  4. Ensure quarantine for the immigrants: All the immigrants who are travelling back to Bangladesh from other countries must be kept quarantined or home quarantined until 14 days passes. The government already is and must keep taking strict measures to ensure that.
  5. Ensure medical help: The government should ensure medical health care for the sufferers. As the National Heath Policy 2011(NHP), states that “Every citizen has the basic right to adequate health care. The state and the government are constitutionally obliged to ensure health care for its citizen.”
  1. Stopping the spread of fake news: Our government has very recently taken crucial step to stop the fake news which is being spread all over the country, for these reasons people are panicking and making the situation worse. This must be continued for minimizing wrong, false information and unnecessary panic among the people.

Moreover, some laws and regulations should be adopted during the pandemic. There are already regulations, policies regarding public health care in Bangladesh. But those are too limited to control the devastating situation. So, laws which are enacted relating to pandemic, in other countries can be taken into consideration, in case of putting a stop to this deadly situation. The considerable laws and policies of different nations of the world are discussed below:

(1).Epidemic Diseases Act,1987: Following the 2019–20, corona virus pandemic , the Cabinet Secretary of India on 11 March, 2020 announced that all states and Union territories should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the said Act. Section-2, Section-2A, Section-3, and Section-4 are the important provision of this Act. In Section 2, it is stated that,

“When at any time the Government is satisfied that the State or any part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, the Government, ifthinks that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient for the purpose, may take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public, as it shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease.”

In Section 2A, it is said that, “When the Central Government is satisfied that India or any part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease and that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, the Central Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for the inspection of any ship or vessel leaving or arriving at any port and for such detention thereof, or of any person intending to sail therein, as may be necessary.”

(2).Pandemic and ALL Hazard Preparedness Act, 2006: Passed by the Congress of the United States in 2006, the purpose of this Act is to “improve the Nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response capabilities for emergencies, whether deliberate, accidental, or natural.”

(3).Public Health Service Act,1944: This Act was established by the United State’s Federal Government‘s quarantine authority for the first time which gave the United States’ Public Health Service  a responsibility for preventing the introduction, transmission and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States.

(4).Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease,2007: Socialist Republic of Vietnam, enacted this law which in its Article 1, says that, “This Law provides for prevention and control of infectious diseases; border quarantine; epidemic combat; and conditions to assure the prevention and control of infectious diseases in humans.”

It can be conclude saying that, only proper precautions and medical care can help us to fight this invisible rival. The virus has already made us lonely and abandoned. As no one wants to die lying alone in bed, everyone should become highly aware to overcome the adversity.

Writer:

Sumaiya Sultana Ritu, student of LLB, Department of Land Management and Law, Jagannath University, Dhaka.

Endnotes:

  1. “Corona virus”, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1.

  2. “Corona virus: All You Need to Know About symptoms and risks”, Aljazeera, News/China .Published on: 25 March 2020 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/coronavirus-symptoms-vaccines-risks-200122194509687.html?utm_source=website&utm_medium=article_page&utm_campaign=read_more_links.

  3. “Corona virus Disease, 2019 (COVID-19)”. CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed on March 4, 2020 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html.

  4. “Corona virus symptoms: what are they and should I call a doctor”, Support ‘The            Guardian’, writers: Sarah BOSLEY, HANNAH DEVLIN AND MARTIN BELAM, Published On: WEDNESDAY 5, MARCH 2020https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/coronavirus-symptoms-what-are-they-should-i-call-doctor-covid-19.

  1. “Covid-19 CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC”, WORLDOMETER, Last updated on March 27, 2020, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries/ .

  2. “Regulations and Laws That May Apply during a Pandemic”, (Centers for disease control and prevention), last reviewed in November 3, 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemics-resources//planning-preparedness/regulations-laws-during-pandemic.htmil/.

  3. “Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act”, (Public Health Emergency), last            reviewed September 17, 2019, http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/pahpa/pages/default.aspx/ .

 

 

2 thoughts on “Legal Analysis of COVID-19 pandemic: An Irrefutable Curse for Bangladesh

  1. Thanks for writing such an article that will help people to understand the importance of Covid-19 . We all, the whole nation, should fight together against this biological virus. May Allah save us all human being from this epidemic.Ameen

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