CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

BIRUTĖ PRANEVIČIENĖ – VIOLETA VASILIAUSKIENĖ CYIL 11 (2020) master students at her university, and joint master programs at the Frontex and CEPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training). Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for the states affected by it. The numbers are changing by the day at the moment and even though some restrictions are lifted, the challenge raised by the virus is still here. The challenge in containing the virus lies in the fact that states had to limit certain rights of their citizens and inhabitants in order to minimize the social contact and as consequence minimize and contain the spread of the virus. The need to contain the virus lies in the necessity to protect the vulnerable groups of people, those at risk: elderly, sick with other diseases, and in the need to reduce the pressure for the health protection system in the countries, in turn achieving lower mortality rate caused by coronavirus. Professors A. and G. Remuzzi noted that “[a]ccording to Nature , the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is becoming unstoppable and has already reached the necessary epidemiological criteria for it to be declared a pandemic, having infected more than 100000 people in 100 countries. Therefore, a coordinated global response is desperately needed to prepare health systems to meet this unprecedented challenge. Countries that have been unfortunate enough to have been exposed to this disease already have, paradoxically, very valuable lessons to pass on” 1 . Following the announcement by the World Health Organization of a pandemic due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, countries facing this dangerous disease had to make decisions that affected the management of the spread of the virus. As a result, many states have decided to declare a state of emergency, a state of extreme situation or quarantine, and certain quite broad-reaching restrictions on individual rights have been introduced. The measures to stop productive activity were taken in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19. “At times, these measures have been criticized as being excessive and too costly.“ 2 . The legality and proportionality of the measures taken may also be called into question, especially with regard to decisions concerning the restriction of human rights. Antonio Gutieres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, has indicated that “[t]he coronavirus pandemic is not only a critical public health danger, it is also a human, economic and social emergency that is “fast becoming a human rights crisis” 3 . The World Health Organisation (hereinafter – WHO) Director General also noted that “[a]ll countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights” 4 . This COVID-19 pandemic, in the opinion of 1 REMUZZI, Andrea, REMUZZI, Giuseppe, ‘COVID-19 and Italy: what next?’ (2020) Volume 395, Issue 10231, The Lancet , pp. 1225-1228 accessed 30 May 2020. 2 PIGUILLEM, Facundo and SHI, Liyan, ‘Optimal Covid-19 Quarantine and Testing Policies’ (April 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14613 accessed 30 May 2020. 3 ‘Human rights ‘uplift everyone’; must guide COVID-19 recovery response, says UN chief’ (23 April 2020) UN News accessed 29 May 2020. 4 World Health Organisation. ‘Addressing Human Rights as Key to the COVID-19 Response’ (21 April 2020) accessed 29 May 2020 (World Health Organisation).


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