On Tuesday, Parliament held a referral discussion on the government’s proposal to make mandatory testing of the coronavirus at borders possible.
Opposition On Tuesday, Parliament explained why the government has not previously completed the mandatory coronavirus testing of borders and why existing legislation has not been used for this.
There was a referendum debate in plenary the latest proposal from the government concerning so-called forced testing at borders.
Several MPs referred during the debate To an article published by HS on Tuesday, where Professor Emeritus of Administrative Law at the University of Helsinki Olli Mäenpää and Professor of Public Law at the University of Turku Janne Salminen considered that, under the law already in force, regional administrations have the power to order compulsory health inspections.
Mäenpää considered the government’s proposal on forced testing unnecessary in this respect.
To the opinion grabbed the debate in Tuesday’s debate by, for example, the Coalition Vice-Chairman Antti Häkkänen.
“The section that is now being amended here in the parallel text has therefore already existed. If there has been any ambiguity in it, then why hasn’t it been changed in a year, only now? ” he wondered.
“Border control has therefore partly leaked […]So the article has existed, but it has not been used. ”
The MP for basic Finns had the same issue Jani Mäkelä.
“Who has been so wise to say we don’t have legislation on this? If we assume that he was right that our legislation did not allow such testing, then why has this matter been dealt with for a whole year? ” he asked.
There was a consensus in the Chamber that it would be good if the government now got the testing in order.
Government according to the proposal, regional government agencies could order several people at a time for a mandatory health check. A health check can mean, for example, taking a coronavirus test. In practice, the regional government agency could, for example, order persons who have been in a certain place, workplace or institution to have a health check-up if there is reason to suspect infections in the places.
Until now, the Regional State Administrative Agency has been able to order a compulsory health inspection in a situation of a communicable disease of general danger. However, the law and its regulations may have been interpreted in such a way that it would not be possible to order large numbers of people to be inspected.
“It has not been entirely clear to operators whether the AVI can make a decision on a compulsory health examination for more than one person at a time,” the Minister for Family and Basic Services, who introduced the law. Krista Kiuru (sd) said in parliament.
The proposal now seeks to clarify this so that the decision of the regional government agency may concern one or more persons.
In addition, infectious disease physicians in municipalities and hospital districts would also be able to order an individual to undergo a mandatory health examination. As a new matter, those who have contracted or been suspected of having an infectious disease or who have a reasonable suspicion of such a disease should also be required to provide information about themselves to health care staff, for example in tracing.
Mixed Member of the Coalition Party Mia Laiho the chairman of the Christian Democrats Sari Essayah asked Kiuru why the possibilities already provided by law for forced testing have not been used.
Essayah asked if the guidance from the Department of Social Affairs and Health had been adequate.
Kiuru wanted to underline that the regional government agencies are independent and have been given a close and emphatic message that they would help the health authorities at the borders.
“Our common will is for those responsible to comply with this legislation. And if this does not become clear otherwise, then after this bill it will certainly be quite clear to everyone, ”Kiuru said.
The government is has long wanted to bring mandatory coronavirus testing to the limits, but progress has been slow. Eand a different presentation forced testing did not progress last fall in parliament when the constitutional committee knocked it down. The government began preparing the law again, after which it again received crushing feedback in a round of opinions.
Coalition MP Ben Zyskowicz gave a strong speech on how strict a interpretation of the Constitution he found problematic and how it had hampered work on that law.
He stressed that a mandatory corona test, of course, violates a person’s personal freedom. At the same time, however, one should look at the rights of people who are suffering from coronary heart disease.
“What about the hundreds of people who have contracted this virus in Finland because this virus has crossed the border during the months in which this issue has been discussed? What about the hundreds of people who suffer from long-term coronary symptoms as a result of this illness? ”
“Where are the fundamental rights of these people?” Zyskowicz asked.
Government the bill will next be discussed in the Committee on Social Affairs and Health, to which the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Administrative Committee will deliver opinions.