COVID-19 Pandemic and Legal Response: A Review of Punjab Infectious Diseases Law
COVID-19 emerged as an infectious disease and was later declared as global pandemic by the World Health Organization. With its ongoing spread COVID-19 carries severe threat to public health across the globe, the gravity of situation has been multiplied by the economic implications of the pandemic, which is causing more pressure on the funding and resources required for running any public health system at national and domestic levels in a jurisdiction. In containing the impact of COVID-19, strong pandemic preparedness and response strategies with supportive public health laws are more desperately required densely populated regions. This paper reviews the legislative framework on control and containment of infectious diseases in the province of Punjab, which is the most populated province of Pakistan and has lately gone through a significant legislative development in the form of Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Act, 2020. The paper seeks to address the main question whether this Act adequately addresses the current challenges in the Punjab province? For this purpose, the Act is analyzed in this paper to examine its legal response framework in dealing with COVID-19. The findings of this study reveal that the Act is inadequate and insufficient, and does not meet the needs of present health crises. It concludes that there is need a comprehensive public health legislation to defeat the challenges and an impact of COVID-19 pandemic. These findings aim to assist policy and law makers to establish practicable pandemic preparedness strategies, translating preparedness ‘on paper’ to ‘in practice’. For conduct of research doctrinal method has been employed with analytical and comparative approach.