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.
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.
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.
the level of preparedness
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.
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.
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.
realistic and pragmatic approach
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.
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.
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.
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