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Lawyers and medics on the offensive against Covid-19 measures?

Despite the unprecedented nature of the intrusive measures that are taken by governments around the world as a result of the Covid-19 virus, prominent members in the legal and medical fields have so far been silent. With senior judges and international “medics for truth” organisations now speaking their mind, a counter-movement appears to arise that challenges the official narrative told by governments and media.

Although unprecedented measures are taken by governments around the world as a result of the Covid-19 virus, prominent members in the legal and medical fields have been relatively silent regarding the implications and validity of these measures from their professional perspectives.

In a podcast from 10 September, however, retired Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption made a number of remarkable observations that directly challenge the legal basis of the lockdown and quarantine rules implemented under British Health Secretary Matt Hancock. According to Sumption, measures such as house arrest, travel restrictions, compulsory face masks and bans on assembly and protest have been taken under the Public Health Act 1984, not the Coronavirus Act 2020. Sumption further noted that the Public Health Act only allows intervention with an individual’s liberty if the person is believed “on reasonable grounds” to have contracted a disease. The lockdown measures that apply to the whole population are therefore ultra vires– a legal term indicating that the government is acting beyond its legal power or authority.

In Peter Hitchens’s analysis of the podcast, he observes that an instrument exists in the form of the Civil Contingencies Act which would allow the government to the things it has done under the Public Health Act. The CCA, however, requires regular parliamentary scrutiny and renewal. Hitchens assumes that the CCA was not used because, if the government had to keep coming back to Parliament, the draconian nature of the measures would have been spotted and put to a halt.

The disproportionate nature of the Covid-19 measures and their frail legal basis is the subject of fierce debate in other countries, too. Nearly a thousand Belgian medical specialists have turned against the corona policy, arguing that Covid-19 is not fundamentally different from influenza and that “overhygienic measures” such as face masks and social distancing will have a detrimental effect on our immunity. In Melbourne, where some of the strictest lockdown and quarantine measure apply, legal claims have meanwhile been filed on behalf of workers who have lost income or suffered psychological damage due to strict social distancing laws.

Other countries have recognized that measures which blatantly infringe personal liberties should have a sound legal basis. Thus, a controversial “Emergency Act” is pending in the Dutch parliament. Not convinced that the implications of this law will be properly examined in parliament, and given the censorship of dissonant voices on several platforms, a conference was recently held by independent Dutch legal and medical professionals – with the support of international members of different “medics for truth” organisations – to “thoroughly investigate all aspects of the Covid-19 case”. The conference follows in the footsteps of initiatives in other countries, such as those organized by the Spanish Médicos por la Verdad.

Given what is at stake and the amount of traction they have gained, it is unlikely that these organisations will disappear. Rather, it seems that they are already looking beyond the current situation and see this as an existential battle, noting that “this crisis represents a world-changing opportunity to expose and transform antiquated ideologies the restrict health freedom”.

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