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Laws for COVID-19 containment and human rights consideration

1 Private Academic Consultant, Bangkok, Thailand
2 Department of Community Medicine, Dr DY Patil University, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission07-Jan-2021
Date of Decision10-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance14-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Beuy Joob,
Private Academic Consultant, Bangkok
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_11_21

How to cite this URL:
Joob B, Wiwanitkit V. Laws for COVID-19 containment and human rights consideration. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Nov 30]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=330697

Dear Sir,

COVID-19 is still the public health problem around our world. For containing this new infection, it requires good collaboration from everyone. A good policies making is required to derive a good public measure for COVID-19 containment.[1] In order to implement a preventive measure, it sometimes requires laws. In many countries, there are many kinds of laws regarding COVID-19 containments. Example of commonly used laws is “facemask laws.” In brief, one who does not wear facemask and expose to the community might be fined.[2] Many countries implement specific laws for mandatory facemask wearing during COVID-19 outbreak. In some situation, a strict legal control such as curfew implementation might be used.

Nevertheless, an important issue is on the appropriateness of legal control. Some legal measure might violate human rights. For example, in a setting with a dictator leadership, the local people might not be permitted to have COVID-19 and one who get the disease will be seriously punished. Some might impose strange laws to force local people to buy modern smartphone and have some internet apps for identification during COVID-19 outbreak. Ones who do not follow the laws might be fined or jailed. The aims of those laws are good, focusing on strict disease control. However, the important question is whether it is appropriate or not. Some too sophisticate legal control might be hard to follow and many low educated poor persons might not possible to follow.

Indeed, for public health control, it requires exact public health expert for generating policies. The poor policies might be from nonexpert. Sometimes, the military style laws are can implement and it might cause problem rather than a successful disease control. Last but not least, any legal enforcement can affect individual privacy. It is an interest dilemma issue for discussing regarding strict legal control versus human rights. A pandemic can do harm to general people but inappropriate public health policies might sometimes do more harm. Ethical consideration is required before implementation of any public health measure for COVID-19 containment.[3]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Weible CM, Nohrstedt D, Cairney P, Carter DP, Crow DA, Durnová AP, et al. COVID-19 and the policy sciences: initial reactions and perspectives. Policy Sci 2020. p. 1-17. [doi: 10.1007/s11077-020-09381-4].  Back to cited text no. 1
Rab S, Javaid M, Haleem A. Face masks are new normal after COVID-19 pandemic. Diabetes Metab Syndr 2020; 14:1617-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Chan TK. Universal masking for COVID-19: evidence, ethics and recommendations. BMJ Glob Health 2020;5: E002819.  Back to cited text no. 3


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