Legal scholar: Proportionality of new restrictions questionable
From Monday, only individuals who have with them certification of coronavirus vaccination, or of recovery from the coronavirus, can enter a wide range of entertainment, catering, sports and other facilities. Legal academic Paloma Krõõt Tupay says that the proportionality of the latest restrictions is dubious.
With the government's orders, a scarf is no longer enough in public spaces and transport; a proper medical mask has to be worn. Exemptions can only be allowed with a medical certificate, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.
The aim of the orders established on Thursday is to limit the spread of the coronavirus and increase the number of vaccinated people by at least 10,000 per week. The government supports family doctors and local governments with supplementary funding, in the hopes of boosting vaccination. At the same time, access to entertainment is limited for the people who have stayed away from getting vaccinated.
"A Covid certificate is required at public events. Whereas the previous regulations allowed a negative test as well, then by the new regulations, that is no longer possible," Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said.
Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said that the government is not planning to limit access to vital services such as health care, food store, pharmacies, education. "Rather, we are limiting entertainment and free time activities," Kiik said.
Kiik said that the aim is to increase the number of vaccinated people by at least 10 percent.
Paloma Krõõt Tupay says she considers the proportionality of these restrictions questionable.
"A lawyer always asks whether this is a preach of basic rights, isn't there another measure that would limit my rights less. And here we could ask whether positive measures, which could motivate people, couldn't they be more efficient? We're talking about creating a state fund that if somebody is really afraid of complications, then we will help out," Tupay said.
Kiik said that the Center Party hasn't neglected the possibility of compensating for dental care for the elderly. Though there is no consensus in the coalition, Kiik said that the discussion is continued.
"We are treating all people equally. If we were to create a support measure then people who have already completed the vaccination course can also apply for it. There is no reason to wait. Today, it's important to go vaccinating at your first chance because the situation is serious," Kiik said.
Paloma Krõõt Tupay found that the coronavirus-related discussions should take place in the Riigikogu, not in the closed cabinets of the government.
She said that the Riigikogu could have changed the procedure during the two years of the coronavirus crisis.
"We have examples in other countries where the coronavirus crisis has led the legislator to think of solutions for how to be better involved in decision-making processes. For example, saying that government restrictions, which must be adopted soon, have a limited duration. Or that their validity depends, for example, on whether or not it is subsequently approved by Parliament," Tupay said.
Government restrictions are valid from Monday.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino