Posted by News Express | 30 May 2020 | 1,234 times
By PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has signed the Anambra State COVID-19 and other Dangerous Diseases Prevention and Eradication bill into law.
Assenting to the bill on Saturday, the governor said that protocols and other healthcare advisories are now backed by law and would attract penalties if contravened.
He reiterated the need for Anambra and everyone residing in the state to comply with the hygiene protocols established earlier by relevant health organisations and the state government.
The bill which was recently passed by the State House of Assembly, was occasioned by the need to ratify and legitimise measures taken by the state government to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Uche Okafor, on his part noted that the COVID-19 law was germane to the effectiveness of the battle against COVID-19 and other epidemics or pandemics as may arise in future.
He observed that the law was necessary to strengthen, validate and legalise the state government’s policies on COVID-19 and other related health matters.
He said: “Coronavirus took the world unawares including us in Anambra State. To combat it effectively, measures that were outlandish to our culture and laws were introduced.
“Hence the need for a law to incorporate such measures into our system and accommodate them.
“Certain rights of an individual like the right to movement and association as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, as amended, were restricted. Some aspects of our culture like contact salutation, traditional, social and religious festivities were equally stopped.
“Although the advisories were already public, with commensurate compliance by Ndi Anambra, there was need to legitimise them for effective enforcement.”
The Anambra State COVID-19 law, which has 15 sections, provides for the protection of medical professionals, healthcare providers and other frontline workers in an epidemic or pandemic.
Others include closure of educational institutions, the civil service and other institutions in the state, wearing of facemasks in public places, social distancing, restriction on public gatherings, regulations on burials, among others.
It also contains stipulations for conduct of citizens and residents during a health crisis. Such stipulations include: lockdown of the state and shutdown of business, religious, social and traditional activities.
Penalties for contravening the law include payment of fines, community service or a jail term after a contravening party must have been tried, found guilty and sentenced by a competent court.
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