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HomeNewsLocal NewsCovid-19 (Prevention And Control) Bill was repealed during National Assembly sitting

Covid-19 (Prevention And Control) Bill was repealed during National Assembly sitting

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – During the first sitting of the National Assembly, the parliament passed the Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which amended the Public Health Act and repealed the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Act No. 16 of 2020.

The COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Act No. 16 of 2020 was an act to provide for public health and other interventions to prevent, control and suppress the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and related matters.

The argument from the new government was that the Public Health Act provided the avenue for the prevention, control and suppression of the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Terrance Drew, the mover of the Bill, indicated that the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Act significantly affected and impacted the lives and livelihoods of thousands of citizens and residents.

“We have to be careful when we use these types of measures for political expediency because people are hurt. Countries are hurt on different levels… Can you imagine keeping the protocols longer than expected and were needed… when people were suffering from mental health effects; this is what these decisions did. Three months in the life of someone with mental illness is a long time and if you have restrictions on them that you could have lifted, it helps to ease the burden. After a while, people [started] to live, but the restrictions were still there; this law was still in place. Domestic violence, that is why you have to act quickly to get people back to their full life as soon as possible. That is why it is not about eradicating the virus; it is about learning to live with the virus.”

Former Prime Minister and Parliamentary representative for Constituency No 7, Hon. Dr Timothy Harris, defended the implementation of the Act at the time and said that it is the new government’s priority to act for the benefit of the people understanding that caution is still necessary.

“It’s easy when you get at the easy place to say that it should have, but you don’t now because you have never been a constructive participant in the realities which led to certain responses to the problems which the country faced. At this point in time, we want to remove them all; that is the government’s priority, [and] that is part of their responsibility. They must do so soberly and responsibly. And just as others have reminded us that COVID is still here… caution is still necessary. They must make the determination in the context of what is happening elsewhere, what is the appropriate response.”

While there was some pushback from the opposition benches, the Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2022 was passed and has effectively repealed the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Act.

MAKANA FERRY SCHEDULE

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