Parliament passes post state of emergency measures on first reading

Most sanitary measures will remain and transfer to a state of health emergency

Parliament passes post state of emergency measures on first reading

The state of emergency, which Parliament decreed March 13 is due to end on May 13. The government already declared it will not seek to extend it but it will find a way to transfer the measures, which were adopted under it, after it expires. Today, MPs passed new laws reflecting this intent on their first reading. A second reading will determine whether the bills will become law. They are subject to change between the readings as well.

The state of emergency itself was met with much criticism and concern as it gives the executive branch a vast amount of power, which many argued was unnecessary for implementing the measures to contain the virus, relieve the economic impacts and implement social distancing practices.

Regarding sanitary measures, the Health Ministry will continue to issue orders related to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The minister will be able to declare a state of epidemiological emergency, under which he can issue said orders, which will be indistinguishable from the ones he has issued under the state of emergency. In some cases, the orders will need the referral of the National Health Inspector. If the measures concern a only a small locality – they come directly from the Regional Health Inspector.

The body of laws, which regulated the state of emergency will receive an extension to its title, to expand its scope after May 13. It will include an addition that the legislation deals with the "consequences" of its enactment. The timeframe for this will be two months. The measures at focus here will be mostly economic: rent for municipal property could be lowered or revoked, freezing of funds will continue to be banned throughout the period and courts, could hold sessions online.

The so-called 60/40 measure whereby the state covers 60% of employees’ salary for businesses, which can prove the COVID-19 crisis has had a direct negative impact on their business and would otherwise have to lay off said employees, will also continue. The employer, however, must secure the other 40% of the employees’ salaries.

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections has now reached 1829. 355 patients are in hospital, 43 are in ICUs. 84 people with the SARS-Cov-2 have died.

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