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Covid-19 law lab to provide vital legal information for the global Covid-19 response

By Saada Hassan | July 24th 2020 at 02:04:35 GMT +0300

Several countries have implemented different measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, like lock downs, isolation of people who have tested positive for the virus, quarantine for people who have been exposed to the virus among other measures.

In order to operate from a point of order and dignity to people, the World Health Organization has launched the Covid-19 Law Lab Initiative that will gather and share legal documents that will help countries implement strong legal frameworks to manage the pandemic.

Covid-19 being a new occurrence across the world, little is known about the disease creating a loophole in matters of health and well-being of individuals.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Recently in the country, several cases have come out in the public domain of patients being abandoned once they show symptoms that are likely linked to Covid-19.

One patient, Edgar who is nursing a broken rib, leg, and arm from an accident on Thursday last week, told The Standard of his nightmarish experience at the Makindu Sub-county hospital, where medics abandoned him as soon as he started coughing blood, and when his temperature shot up.

Although the medical team at the hospital initially attended to him without fear, Mbihia told The Standard that all the treatment and care ceased immediately he displayed symptoms associated with Covid-19.

Covid 19 Time Series


Stigmatization has been highly characterized during this pandemic with many fearing to be associated with persons who have tested positive for the virus.

According to WHO, the Covid-19 law lab will be a database of laws that countries have implemented in response to the pandemic. It includes state of emergency declarations, quarantine measures, disease surveillance, legal measures relating to mask-wearing, social distancing, and access to medication and vaccines.

“Harmful laws can exacerbate stigma and discrimination, infringe on people’s rights and undermine public health responses,” according to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “To ensure responses to the pandemic are effective, humane and sustainable, governments must use the law as a tool to uphold the human rights and dignity of people affected by Covid-19.”

“Strong legal frameworks are critical for national Covid-19 responses,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Laws that impact health often fall outside the health sector. As health is global, legal frameworks should be aligned with international commitments to respond to current and emerging public health risks. A strong foundation of law for health is more important now than ever before.”

The lab which is joint project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University will also feature research on different legal frameworks for Covid-19.

“Laws and policies that are grounded in science, evidence and human rights can enable people to access health services, protect themselves from Covid-19 and live free from stigma, discrimination and violence,” says Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “The Covid-19 Law Lab is an important tool for sharing good practices on laws and policies.”

Stigmatization WHO Covid-19 Covid-19 Law Lab Initiative
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