Tag: Infectious disease outbreaks

  • Prospects for the World Health Assembly’s pandemic instrument

    Prospects for the World Health Assembly’s pandemic instrument

    The World Health Assembly (WHA) has established an intergovernmental negotiating body to “draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response”. The Assembly’s decision was made at the special session of the WHA, convened for the specific purpose of considering the benefits of such an instrument. But the proposed pandemic instrument will almost certainly materialise too late to mitigate the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Religious discrimination in Australian health law: hype or reality?

    Queensland has passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021. I’m disappointed in Queensland’s Parliament, not for passing assisted dying legislation, but for consciously trampling over the religious beliefs of Catholic and other religious healthcare organisations. Catholic hospitals are right to be aggrieved.  It’s entirely predictable that church institutions are now considering civil disobedience. (See “Catholic […]

  • A triumph for religious freedom, or viral spreading? The US Supreme Court in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v Cuomo

    During his Presidency, President Trump had the opportunity to appoint three new Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2017, the acerbic conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch replaced Justice Antonin Scalia; In 2018, Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy; and In 2020, Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These three appointments […]

  • The tricky business of Covid-19 reviews & origins investigations

    Dr Dominic Dwyer, Australia’s member of the WHO-convened Global Study of the Origins of SARS-CoV-2, won’t remember me, but he was generous and helpful when I interviewed him as a PhD student in the early 1990s. His more recent comments to the media illustrate the challenges of attempting to investigate the origins of SARS-CoV-2 as […]

  • Freedom to protest, public health, and Covid-19

    Update: the podcast of the event described below is now available, click here. Recently, a number of protests have taken place on the grounds of The University of Sydney against Commonwealth government education policies.  See, for example, here (28 August) and here (14 October). During the latter protest, police were filmed throwing a demonstrator heavily onto […]

  • Rule of law in the Covid-19 response

    The International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) has released a short publication that highlights the role of law in governments’ response to Covid-19.  See here. Established by international treaty in 1988, IDLO is an inter-governmental organisation devoted to upholding the rule of law.  Australia, and the United States, are among its 37 member parties, which span […]

  • Who’s in control of Australia’s response to coronavirus? Part 2: Operational responses

    For part 1 of this post, click here. One reason why there is a measure of confusion about operational control during an outbreak of disease with pandemic potential is because of the different functions and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, and the States within a federation. For example, even if the (modest) number of cases meant […]

  • Who’s in control of Australia’s response to coronavirus? Part 1: Legal frameworks

    The situation in Australia with human coronavirus is deteriorating. 454 cases so far, and 5 deaths, but cases are rising rapidly.  See here for updates. Globally: 6,800 deaths and rising. Australia’s Chief Medical Officer – Australia’s Director of Human Biosecurity – has advised the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that gatherings of more than 500 […]

  • Legal management of the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Australia

    On 31 January the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), following the advice of the Emergency Committee.  (See here). Under the International Health Regulations, which govern global management of infectious disease outbreaks, a declaration that a PHEIC exists […]