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COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and Quarantine Bill adopted at National Assembly

Date: May 16, 2020
Domain:Health; Judiciary
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen
 

GIS – 16 May, 2020: The COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and the Quarantine Bill were passed in the National Assembly, yesterday, after three days of debate.

 

The COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill aims at empowering the economy to weather this storm, save enterprises and jobs, and build for a recovery overtime. The objectives of the Quarantine Bill are to prevent the resurgence of COVID-19 infection, and step up the preparedness and response of the country to any future pandemic.

 

In his summing-up, the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, stated that the measures proposed in the Bills are vital for the survival of the country as a nation. He asserted that the efforts being asked of everyone, including employers and employees alike, at this critical juncture, will go towards building a solid economy and society for the future.“COVID-19 has drastically changed the way of life, and old habits will have to make way for the new normal,” he averred.

 

Enhancing the level of preparedness

 

The two Bills, said Mr Jugnauth, not only demonstrate the concerns, commitment and determination of Government to save lives and livelihoods in this existential threat posed by the COVID-19, but also to win the battle against the virus and its consequences, both on the sanitary and the economic fronts. According to him, the experiences gained in further improving the level of preparedness for a pandemic and staving off the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 in the country are embodied in the draft laws. Mr Jugnauth added that some of the preparedness measures will be included in the forthcoming Public Health Bill.

 

The Prime Minister pointed out that theCOVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill will contribute to the careful management of the transition process from the curfew by strengthening the surveillance control and health system preparedness. This will allow the progressive reopening of economic and other activities with strict sanitary rulesand addedmeasuresto avoid, at all cost and by all means, a resurgence of the disease.

 

Moreover, the proposed legislation makes way for future actions that are to be prescribed by way of regulations to be made after the passing of the Bill. On that account, Mr Jugnauth said that a regulation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 2005 is currently being finalised with a view to ensuring that sanitary, safety and health measures are implemented by employers for the prevention and management of COVID-19 at work places. In case of non-compliance, employers may be subject to prosecution.

 

A realistic and pragmatic approach

 

The Head of Government also elaborated on several amendments brought forward by the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Billwhich are based on a realistic and pragmatic approach and policy response while respecting the fundamental rights and freedom of all citizens. He reassured the population that changes to the Workers’ Rights Act neither penalise workers nor give a licence to terminate employment, as the Redundancy Board, set up under the same Act, is a safeguard against abusive termination of employment.

 

In addition, Mr Jugnauth welcomed the strict action against spitting in public which is an extremely unhygienic habit and is harmful for public health. The need to afford some degree of protection to frontline personnel while they are carrying out their duties was highlighted as well. While paying tribute to these workers, the Prime Minister announced that the Flacq Hospital will be named in the memory of late Dr Bruno Cheong, who has shown his selflessness as a dedicated professional. The latter has passed away due to coronavirus.

 

The Premier urged the population to remain on high alert as a resurgence is not theoretical nor far-fetched. ‘Any relaxation in our vigilance will result in the loss of the gains we so painstakingly and laboriously achieved, thanks to the curfew and other powerful measures,’ he underlined.

 

#ResOuLakaz     #BeSafeMoris

 Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website: http://gis.govmu.org  Mobile App: Search Gov​

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