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02 August, 2021
 
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Court battles brewing over COVID measures

Over 100 cases and counting against government and pandemic task force over COVID measures and Safe Pass

Newsroom

Over a hundred complaints and counting are waiting to be heard in Cypriot courts against the government and members of its coronavirus task force, with legality issues being raised over pandemic measures including Safe Pass.

According to local media, citizens and groups in Cyprus have got together with lawyers to file cases against the health minister and members of the government’s pandemic task force over measures and restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Most cases involve Safe Pass, the government’s latest way to ascertain proof of immunity for individuals who wish to visit places where people congregate, such as cafes and nightclubs, bars and restaurants, big retail shops and DIY shop centers, gyms, hotels, as well as churches, movie theaters, and shopping malls.

But many critics including activists and lawyers argue that restrictive measures including Safe Pass are invalid because they have not been written into law by the legislature, while others go a step further saying some of the measures are disproportionate and unconstitutional.

Members of the pandemic force sought immunity from prosecution, with government officials rejecting the claim but offering to pay their legal bills

Safe Pass can be used by those who are properly vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who test negative for the virus, as well as and those whose natural immunity after illness can be officially established.

But questions over whether vaccinated persons could still casually spread the bug in large numbers remained unanswered within the scientific community, with many experts agreeing a vaccine drastically reduces the risk.

Critics argue that social distancing measures, including the use of face masks, ought to be an appropriate and reasonable effort to prevent the spread, while Cypriot officials say and members of the pandemic task force insist vaccinations are the only ticket for people getting quickly back to normality.

Last month state prosecutors dropped a case against a protester who was being accused of health law violations during a demonstration amid pandemic restrictions.

The Legal department quickly rejected claims that the case was dropped because prosecutors felt they had a weak defense on the constitutionality question, arguing instead that the case had been dropped because there was, in retrospect, not enough evidence to back up the charges.

Department officials went on to reassure the media that constitutionality questions raised by his lawyer were still pending in this and other cases.

Earlier this week, local media said members of the task force have reportedly sought immunity from prosecution, with government officials rejecting the claim but vowing to pay their legal bills.

Many cases include issues pertaining to freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, religious freedoms, as well as constitutional authority to mandate vaccinations.

The government says measures have been reasonable in order to protect public health, while critics argue some restrictions have been unnecessarily strict and unlawful.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Safe Pass  |  safepass  |  pandemic  |  public health  |  constitution  |  court  |  measures  |  restriction  |  freedom  |  movement  |  vaccination  |  COVID

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