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Covid-control law widely expected to sail through Senate

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Minster of Health Mam Bun Heng presented a draft law on the control of Covid-19 and other serious and contagious diseases to the National Assembly members on March 5. NA

Covid-control law widely expected to sail through Senate

The Senate is expected to approve the draft law on the control of Covid-19 and other serious and contagious diseases this week after the National Assembly (NA) unanimously passed the bill on March 5.

NA spokesman Leng Peng Long told The Post on March 7 the bill was sent to the Senate immediately after it was passed.

Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang confirmed to The Post on March 7 that the Senate has received the draft law and will review it on March 9.

“We have five days to discuss the legality of the draft law. It will first be reviewed by expert commissions and then referred to the Permanent Committee who will set a date to hold a full session. It won’t take long; the draft law can pass the Senate by the end of this week,” Bun Neang said.

Comprising six chapters and 18 articles, the draft law was presented to the NA by Minster of Health Mam Bun Heng and Minister of Justice Koeut Rith.

Article 1 said the law is intended to set health, administrative and other necessary measures to fight and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other contagious diseases and to mitigate socio-economic impacts, according to an NA press release.

The law was drafted following recommendations by Prime Minister Hun Sen as the Kingdom is striving to stop the outbreak of Covid-19.

The justice ministry said the government had introduced a series of measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially in the wake of the country’s recent Covid-19 clusters including the November 3 and November 28 community transmission. The Kingdom’s largest outbreak, which the government has dubbed February 20 Community Event, has caused panic and anxiety and has impacted all levels of society.

The ministry said: “After deliberation of all 18 articles ... the National Assembly unanimously approved, without change, the draft law.”

Article 7 of the draft law concerns people who escape from quarantine or their failure to adhere to quarantine measures set by the health ministry and relevant authorities. Those who violate this article will be penalised with up to three years imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine between two million and 10 million riel ($500 and $2,500) if their violation leads to transmission of Covid-19 to others.

Article 8 states that escaping from treatment or a treatment centre set by the health ministry will result in between one and five years in prison and a fine of up to 20 million riel. If the violation leads to transmission of Covid-19 to others, the penalty will increase to between five and 10 years in prison.

“Intentional transmission of Covid-19 to other people incurs a penalty of five to 10 years in prison. The penalty increases to between 10 and 20 years if the above action is committed with criminal intent,” stated Article 9.

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