They can require people to undergo counselling
and to refrain from carrying out specified activities, going to specified places,
associating with specified persons or specified classes of persons,
staying at a specified residence and accepting the supervision of a named person.
FLU GIVES WHO MORE POWER
They can order a person suspected of spreading an infectious disease to be isolated,
an order that can be executed by force if necessary.
Where a person is suspected of suffering from non-seasonal influenza,
they can be forced to provide bodily samples,
and to be detained under surveillance
until doctors are satisfied that he or she is not contagious.
Health officials may get extra powers on flu
Reuters, Jun 11, 2009
The World Health Organisation's declaration of a full-blown global influenza pandemic places the nation's regional health officials in the limelight. The World Health Organisation has declared the first flu pandemic of the 21st century, urging countries to shore up defences against the virus which is "not stoppable" but has proved mainly mild so far. The United Nations agency has raised its pandemic flu alert to phase six on a six-point scale, indicating the first influenza pandemic since 1968 is underway.
There are currently 27 confirmed cases of A/H1N1, or swine flu, in New Zealand.A ward at Auckland Hospital is under strict infection control conditions and a childcare centre is closed after a nurse and her child tested positive for the virus. Health officials say the containment strategy New Zealand is using is working for now, but long-term, we will need to look at different solutions as the virus spreads.
New health regulations which took effect on April 29 added non-seasonal flu - such as A/H1N1 - to other quarantinable diseases such as avian influenza, cholera, plague and yellow fever. And a ministerial authorisation, an epidemic notice issued under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, or declaration of a state of emergency can give extra powers to regional medical officers of health. These officials are public health specialists the director-general of health makes responsible for specific health districts. According to Iris Reuvecamp, a senior associate at Buddle Findlay law firm, issue of epidemic notice for non-seasonal flu, a quarantinable disease under the Health Act, will mean health authorities can:
- Require people to submit to medical examination or testing at specified times and places
- Require persons, places, buildings, ships, vehicles, aircraft, animals or things to be tested, isolated, quarantined or disinfected as they think fit
- Restrict the movement of people and vehicles
- Set up emergency hospitals
- Restrict public gatherings
- Close any premises, except for Parliament and private homes
The Health Act also allows the officials to call on police to use reasonable force if they need that to carry out their duties.
The Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 says that the prime minister may issue an epidemic notice if they are satisfied that the effects of an outbreak of a quarantinable disease are likely to significantly disrupt or to continue to disrupt essential government and business activity. And while such a notice is in force, the government has significant powers to make regulations which temporarily modify other statutes.
There are no appeal provisions specified in the Health Act for exercise of powers of the medical officers of health - they can require people to undergo counselling and to refrain from carrying out specified activities, going to specified places, associating with specified persons or specified classes of persons, staying at a specified residence and accepting the supervision of a named person.
But more restrictive powers, such as detention or compulsory medical examination, are likely to only be exercised under a "health risk order" issued by a court, though a medical officer of health could issue an interim order for detention of up to 72 hours with immediate effect. The regional health officials already have extensive powers: under section 79 of the Health Act, they can order a person suspected of spreading an infectious disease to be isolated, an order that can be executed by force if necessary.
Where a person is suspected of suffering from non-seasonal influenza, they can be forced to provide bodily samples, and to be detained under surveillance until doctors are satisfied that he or she is not contagious. Detention can be up to a maximum of 28 days, and may only be more than 14 days if the medical officer of health considers the person is still contagious.
Health officials may get extra powers on flu. Reuters/ONENews/NZTV, Jun 11, 2009
Pandemic means time to get impersonal (only UN diplomats can still shake hands). AFP, Jun 11, 2009
WHO decrees flu now full-scale pandemic ("can now reap benefits of investments"). BBC, Jun 11, 2009
WHO close to declaring H1N1 flu pandemic (mixture of swine-bird-human viruses). CTV, Jun 9, 2009
Canada ups flu vaccine research $11-million (WHO says H1N1 swine strain needed). Reuters, Jun 5, 2009
Deal on 90-million UK swine flu vaccines (regardless whether or not pandemic). BBC, May 15, 2009
Lessons of 1976: swine flu fear, wasted millions (more people died from vaccination than flu). GlobeMail, Apr 30, 2009
Swine-flu 1976 scare tactic TV commercial (Get a shot of protection - the swine flu shot). You Tube
Cashing in on swine flu fears (face masks/hand sanitizers/vaccines). Macleans, Apr 30, 2009
China's Dr Flu of WHO says pandemic imminent (tells pharmaceutical industry to ramp it up). BBC, Apr 30, 2009
Germ-killing masks up 450% since flu (a global industry; market is the planet). National Post, Apr 28, 2009
"Stop calling it swine flu" say pig farmers (can't get flu from eating pork). CanadaCom, Apr 29, 2009
World moves to contain flu spread (WHO says could mutate into dangerous strain). BBC, Apr 27, 2009
CHINA'S DR FLU HEADS WHO
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14.Scienfic Experimentation and 2.Big Brother
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