A group of 95 people have filed Constitutional proceedings against Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci and the State Advocate, over what they claim to be unjustifiable and disproportionate measures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Through their case they are “challenging a number of disproportionate measures taken by the Superintendent of Public Health over the past 18 months, in connection with the handling of SARS COV 2 and Covid 19”, the group said.
The measures, they argued, were unconstitutional and went contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.
“The Superintendent for Public Health persistently failed to heed several warnings or take note of various indications over the past month, both locally and internationally, that clearly showed that the curtailment of fundamental rights and basic civil liberties was not justifiable, reasonable, necessary or proportionate,” the applicants stated
While Lovin Malta has not seen a copy of the court application, the court action was announced by the group Human Health Alliance on its Facebook page. The group, which was involved in last July’s anti-COVID protest, said that the several measures implemented since the start of the pandemic breached their rights.
This, they said, included the requirement to wear masks outdoors, being prevented from congregating in groups, travel restrictions, obligatory quarantine and a host of other measures.
The discrimination against individuals choosing not to get vaccinated was another issue the group said breached their rights.
The group is hoping that through this court case, the government will be “forced” to submit all data and scientific evidence justifying its decisions in court.
Similar challenges to specific measures have been successful abroad over the past year, including when it comes to a government’s right to oblige citizens to quarantine, a fact pointed out by the group.
They said it was clear that an increasing number of people in Malta were now “realising that their islands have been subjected to many arbitrary, nonsensical decisions, and highly disproportionate measures that have no justification or basis at law”.
Malta’s health authorities are generally seen as having handled the COVID-19 pandemic effectively, having succeeded in keeping the number of active cases, and especially hospitalisations, relatively low since the start of the pandemic.
The government has also been effective in its vaccine roll out, succeeding in vaccinating over 90% of the population in eight months. With the number of active cases dropping, however, frustration is increasing among certain segments of the population eager to return to their normal way of life.
Malta has been easing restrictions over the last few weeks, with vaccinated people allowed to attend standing events from 6th September. Some restrictions however remain in place, with government insisting that a cautious approach needed to be maintained.
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