Sumanthiran submits Public Health Emergency draft bill | Daily News

Sumanthiran submits Public Health Emergency draft bill

TNA Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday submitted a draft bill to provide for the declaration of a state of Public Health Emergency and for the adoption of special measures in the interests of public health.

The bill envisages bringing in laws enabling remote convening of Parliament, Cabinet meetings, court sessions and such like through the use of contemporaneous or near contemporaneous audio-visual linkage during the period of Public Health Emergency.

MP Sumanthiran submitted the draft bill availing himself of the privilege of presenting a Private Member’s Bill to the Secretary General of Parliament.

The draft bill contains a provision allowing Parliament to declare public health emergency state through a resolution passed by two-thirds of members’ vote upon the written advice from the Health Services Director General.

“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other law, during the period of a public health emergency, and to the extent that is reasonable, any person may access any public service, including the issuance or renewal of identity documentation, the issuance of birth, death or marriage certificates, the issuance of certificates of absence, and the issuance or renewal of licenses, through remote electronic means, whereby the person is not required to be physically present for the purpose of receiving such service,” the bill read.

The bill also proposes the setting up of a Public Health Emergency Council consisting of the President, Prime Minister, leader of the opposition, ministers of Health, Social Welfare, Environment, Home Affairs, Science and Technology, Defence, Police, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Education, Director General of Health Services etc for the effective use of resources for the detection and containment of the contagious diseases.

The council would have the powers of adopting measures necessary to counter the diseases including enhancement of public awareness and uninterrupted supply of goods and services, says the draft bill.