Parliament’s Health Affairs Committee approved on Wednesday draft amendments to Law No 137 of 1908 regulating the precautionary measures for preventing infectious diseases. The draft was submitted by the committee’s head, Mohamed Al-Amary, and 60 other Members of Parliament (MPs).
The amendments were brought to the table with the aim of curbing the further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Al-Amary said the amendments give the Ministry of Health new powers to enhance its ability to curb the spread of the virus. This includes allowing authorities to enforce the wearing of face masks outside, as well as other preventive measures should this be deemed necessary.
The amendments give health authorities the power to take the necessary measures for dealing with the bodies of people who have died of the coronavirus. The burial has to take place under the supervision of the relevant health authorities, in a manner that respects the dignity of the dead and ensures no contamination.
The draft criminalises any acts of obstructing, disrupting or preventing coronavirus-related burials. Anyone involved in a burial that does not follow the Ministry of Health’s instructions will face imprisonment and a fine of between EGP 5,000 and EGP 10,000. The penalty will be maximised if violence or force was used.
Citizens who refuse to commit to the government’s preventive measures will be fined between EGP 300 and EGP 5,000.