fundamental rights and public health

At present we are faced with a true exercise of tightrope walk between public health requirements and fundamental rights considerations. However, the measures that the nation’s government uses to mitigate the coronavirus crises must meet the following requirements : first, they must comply with the legality ; secondly, they must be necessary measures and, thirdly, these measures must be provided .

The difficult balance between fundamental rights and public health

There is no doubt that confinement is an omnipresent order that entails restrictions on a range of freedoms. Forced imprisonment disrupted our lives, and a series of rights have been affected, for example: freedom of movement, freedom to carry out our work, freedom to move freely around our country, freedom of worship, etc.

Indeed, a significant number of governments have seen in the crisis generated by COVID 19 an opportunity to adopt strict measures or abuse executive decrees, even some governments have created departments whose purpose is to persecute, what which according to them are « fake news » .

As it has been, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, governments around the world have taken exceptional measures to slow the spread or “flatten the curve” of infections. This blog does not question the adoption of exceptional measures to confront the virus, however, what is questioned is the absence of limits and transparency of some of the measures.

From my point of view the COVID 19 pandemic is testing the reaction of the population to the hijacking of their freedoms. Never before, in the democratic period, has the state intervened in such a way in our lives. The population has consented and tolerated with the resignation that any fear of the unknown can generate.

The vast majority of the population has not questioned the seizure of freedoms. A high percentage of individuals have complied with confinement first, time restrictions later, geolocation to analyze mobility, the impossibility of visiting relatives, and even freedom of expression by agreeing that certain measures prevent the dissemination of alleged « fake news ».

Indeed, COVID 19 is a risk to life and collective health, but in view of what happened it is also a risk to fundamental rights . It is curious that Article 30 of our Constitution, which still refers to the forgotten “Military Service”, contemplates the possible regulation of the duties of citizens in cases of serious risk, catastrophe or public calamity.

It is not my intention to confront the dichotomy of individual rights or public health, nothing is further from reality, at this time we must attend to scientific criteria , and we must be aware of the nexus between individual health and public health .

Within the framework of what has been stated, exceptional situations require exceptional measures . However, COVID 19 should not imply a setback in our rights and freedoms that is not protected by health and scientific authorities.

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