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The new Pandemic Bill before Parliament, explained

Next week, the Egyptian House of Representatives will discuss the draft law on measures to confront epidemics and pandemics.

A Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment for the purpose of Pandemic management.

The House of Representatives’ Health Committee agreed with the cabinet that Article 4, which allows the Prime Minister to issue procedures and measures in order to combat pandemics, will be the first article of the draft law.

What this will mean is that when the Prime Minister declares a state of epidemic, pandemic and emergency health risk to the country: immediate procedures to preserve the health and lives of the citizens will have to be implemented.

The committee agreed with the cabinet that this amendment  should last for a limited period only, and MP Ihab al-Tamawy of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, suggested that the Bill once passed should be for a year, subject to renewal.

The new Pandemic Bill proposal is to be presented to the House of Representatives within the next week. There is a very similar Bill also before the Australian Parliament at present in the State of Victoria. 

The first article includes 25 procedures and measures to confront epidemics and pandemics; these are:

-Putting restrictions for an allocated time frame on the freedom of people to move, pass or be present at certain times in the day, whether in specific areas or throughout the country.

-Disruption of work, for a specified period, partially or completely, in ministries, government departments and agencies, local administration units, public authorities, public sector companies, public business sector companies, state-owned companies and the private sector as a whole.

-Suspending study for a specified period, partially or completely, in schools, nurseries, universities, institutes and other educational institutions and any gatherings of students. 

-The Bill will give the Prime Minister concession for the closing and reopening of all of the above mentioned as well as small business.

A prohibition on all public meetings, processions, demonstrations, celebrations and other forms of gatherings, as well as private meetings is also on the list. Also the prohibition of exhibitions, cultural festivals and cinemas when the need arises.

Also the regulating or prohibiting of sports and popular clubs to operate, youth centers, gymnasiums and health clubs. A prohibition for worshippers to attend places of worship.

-Public and mass transportation, public or private can also be halted at the discretion of the Bill.

There will be an obligation by the  citizens to take all the precautionary measures and health precautions established by the health authorities, including wearing protective masks and a mandate on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

If these measures are put into action as a result of a pandemic emergency according to the new legislation, there will be a chance to postpone paying some household bills and an allowance to extend deadlines for submitting tax returns, all for a period not exceeding three months.

There will be a mandate condition put into place for travelers coming from abroad to undergo quarantine procedures and perform medical examinations in accordance with the health requirements. Approval of all of these procedures and the mandates of the new Bill will be given by the authorities, (Health and Government).

-Finally there will be a  designated health supervisor that will oversee any scientific works. Research and analysis laboratories especially any associated with the use of biological materials will work under tightened procedures and processes.

When there is a need to enforce the policies in this Bill there may also arise a need to relocate the headquarters of schools, youth centers, public and private businesses and state-owned places, to temporary field hospitals.

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