Analysis

COVID-19: Laws, Information Regarding COVID-19

Backed by ill-informed lawyers, some politicians are not questioning how effective the lockdowns are in keeping coronavirus numbers down, but they need to know if we have the laws in place.
05 Apr 2020 10:45
COVID-19: Laws, Information Regarding COVID-19

Questioning whether we have laws in place to enforce lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic has become the new in-thing for politicians.

Backed by ill-informed lawyers, some politicians are not questioning how effective the lockdowns are in keeping coronavirus numbers down, but they need to know if we have the laws in place.

The argument is that any law or legal action that has general effect must be made known to all those to whom the law applies.

In this regard, the actions taken in accordance with the Public Health Act, and as announced by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, have been extensively published and broadcast. This has been done well by mainstream media, live streaming of all statements delivered regarding COVID-19.

What the ill-informed lawyers and politicians do not understand is that it is common throughout the world and that important actions taken under the law with respect to COVID- have been announced by the Prime Ministers/Presidents, for example, in the United Kingdom, Australia, NZ, India, Canada and USA.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers who have been working around the clock will also publish the notices under the Public Health Act in the Gazette.

However, Gazettes are only published weekly and often contain notices that have been made weeks before.

Most Fijians do not read Gazettes, as much as they read newspapers or listen to radio or watch news on television. Clearly, publication in the Gazette is not the only way to inform the public of the measures taken under the law.

Given the urgency of the actions taken under the Public Health Act, there has been widespread publication and broadcast throughout Fiji, including live TV as well as on radio and daily newspapers.

As such, there has been sufficient notification to the public of all the measures taken under the Public Health Act with respect to COVID-19.

Now, these are not normal circumstances. Announcements regarding COVID-19 have been disseminated far more widely than most information published in Gazettes. So, the point about whether or not the Fijian public was well aware of what was happening and of steps that were taken to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Our focus right now is culling the spread of this virus. This is what is of utmost importance to Fijians who are not out to score a political point.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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