Cameroon’s Fight Against COVID-19: An Ordinary Legal Framework for an Extraordinary Situation

Cameroon has neither resorted to the exceptional measures that its constitution provides for, nor adopted a new law for the occasion, as many other countries have done. The state has instead relied on already existing provisions, applicable in ordinary times to combat the pandemic. This speaks volumes about the “ordinary” powers of the administrative authorities.

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Nigeria’s Emergency (Legal) Response to COVID-19: A Worthy Sacrifice for Public Health?

Like many other countries across the world, Nigeria has called upon emergency powers to deal with COVID-19 without, however, having declared a state of emergency. The use of emergency powers in Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19 is not only peculiar but problematic for a number of reasons.

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Health Before Rights and Liberties: Thailand’s Response to COVID-19

On 13 January, Thailand was the first country outside of China to confirm a COVID-19 case. Prayuth invoked the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation on 26 March 2020. At present, new cases are down to a single-digit figure per day. However, the 2005 Emergency Decree may not be the appropriate tool, as it has misled the public’s understanding of the pandemic and allows the government to employ unnecessarily harsh measures, leading to over-criminalization and arguable abuses of power.

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Covid-19 – the Maltese Response: Slow at First but Steady and Effective

Notwithstanding some initial hesitation, the way in which the Maltese health authorities have so far handled the emergency has been well received by the general public. Measures were introduced gradually, with daily press conferences explaining the reason for each new measure or variation thereof, whilst providing statistics on the number of daily swabs, patients infected, patients recovered, and fatalities.

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Concentration of Powers in the Federal Executive: The Application of Emergency Powers in Switzerland

Were we ready for the crisis? I do not mean whether Switzerland had enough hospital beds and ventilators, but whether its Federal Constitution was ready. Arguably, the former are vital, and as regards the latter, Switzerland is under no suspicion of losing its quality as a democracy and a Rechtsstaat. Still, the constitutional questions raised by the Corona crisis are troubling. The federal government is applying emergency powers unheard of since WW2, and which were previously unimaginable for most. Legal scholars are only starting to grapple the full implications of the crisis.

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A Tale of Two: The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Rule of Law in Cyprus

Once the first case of COVID-19 was reported on 9 March 2020, the Republic of Cyprus introduced emergency measures to contain the spread of the virus, as per the powers granted under the Constitution in the event of emergency. Following scientific advice, the Cypriot Government responded quickly by limiting temporarily personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, disrupting once again the constitutional legal order.

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The Protection of Health Must Take Precedence: Testing the Constitutional State of Crisis in Luxembourg

In times of neoliberalism, it is healthy hearing the Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg say that “the protection of health and life takes precedence over economic interests”. But this declaration came in the context of the recourse to extraordinary emergency powers, on the day before the Government declared the “state of crisis” to face the Coronavirus situation. In Luxembourg, this tool to regulate emergencies has progressively found its path into the Constitution while elsewhere in Europe philosophers or public law professors argued that a constitutional state of emergency entails the paradox of “constitutionalising the absence of constitution”. It is therefore important to reflect on the effects of the conjugation of these two discourses into the sanitary crisis and their effect on democracy and human rights protection.

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Challenges Beyond Public Health – Guatemala and the Covid-19 Crisis

Due to its violent past of a 36 year-long internal armed conflict and the scourge of corruption, the COVID-19 pandemic presents to Guatemala great challenges that goes beyond ensuring healthcare to its population. The excessive use of imprisonment in the enforcement of sanitary measures, the protection of detained persons, ensuring the effective implementation of financial assistance programs, achieving accountability of public servants during the crisis, and the reactivation of the judiciary are some of the issues that demands a proper answer from the Guatemalan state. This post analyzes the “emergency state” implemented in Guatemala and presents some of the measures and effects related to the current crisis.

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Austria: Rule of Law Lacking in Times of Crisis

As the number of infected persons is declining and the overall situation gradually improving, it becomes clear that the measures have proved to be effective from a public health perspective. However, in light of the general retreat of the virus the upholding of many measures also becomes contestable now regarding their proportionality. With the improvement of the public health issues, the challenge for the rule of law has begun. Will the government be able to restrain itself and find a way back to constitutional normality?

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