The Ministry of Justice is in the process of finalising a sub-decree on health measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other contagious disease, which will be used in conjunction with a new pandemic control law that the Senate is set to approve on March 11.
Ministry secretary of state Kim Santepheap, who led a technical working group to review the sub-decree, declined to elaborate when reached for comment, saying he would wait until the details are finalised.
According to Article 3 of the draft law on Measures to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19 and Other Serious, Dangerous and Contagious Diseases, specific health measures to be required of the public will be detailed by the sub-decree.
Article 5 of the bill said the sub-decree will define the manner and nature of certain public health related offenses and also the penalties imposed or fines to be paid by Covid-19 health measures violators.
Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the sub-decree is a necessary complement to the bill.
“The draft law only talks about general measures and principles. In order to provide a mechanism for enforcement, it needs a sub-decree which details those measures,” he said.
Minister Keout Rith defended the draft law before the Senate’s commission on health, social affairs, youth rehabilitation, labour, vocational training, and women’s affairs on March 10.
The ministry said the draft law had been prepared jointly with the Ministry of Health to provide a timely response to the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia.
“This law will provide a strong and comprehensive legal basis to effectively control the Covid-19 situation and [in the event of] any other seriously dangerous and contagious diseases in Cambodia,” the justice ministry said.
Also added to the sub-decree now are measures concerning bodies of deceased Covid-19 patients.
In his recorded instruction to health minister Mam Bun Heng and the justice minister late on March 10, Prime Minister Hun Sen said bodies of Muslim Covid-19 patients will be exempt from the cremation order.
The move followed a request from Muslim community in the Kingdom.
“I’m making a special exemption for the Cambodian Muslim community and allowing them to bury bodies in a manner consistent with health guidelines,” he said.
Senate Secretary-General Um Sarith said the Senate will hold an extraordinary session on March 11.