One person's rights during pandemic cannot prevail over society's right to health and life - Jansons

  • 2021-09-15
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The rights and interests of one person cannot prevail over the public's right to health and life even during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ombudsman Juris Jansons emphasized in an interview with Latvian Television this morning.

The Ombudsman's Office regularly receives questions from residents and criticism of the measures taken to curb Covid-19 in the country. Jansons acknowledged that, for example, there are various inconsistencies and deviations from the original plan in relation to testing students in educational institutions, which has raised questions within society.

Jansons emphasized that the government has a duty to take measures so that all people can feel safe and the capacity of health institutions is not endangered. "If at some point the hospital finds itself in an unenviable situation when it is not possible to ensure the provision of all services, then the question arises how to ensure people's right to life," the ombudsman said.

In the Ombudsman's view, one could talk about imposing the obligation to vaccinate against Covid-19 for certain professions that are in close contact with people. He reminded that there are already a number of infectious diseases for which vaccination is mandatory by law.

"The Labor Protection Act already stipulates that the employer must ensure a safe working environment, ie ensure all conditions to be safe," said Jansons, emphasizing that we all have a responsibility to work together to return to a normal life as soon as possible and to avoid the further spread of Covid-19.

Responding to cases where even several hundred people end up in self-isolation as a result of a single Covid-19 infected person, Jansons emphasized that from a human rights perspective, it should be understood that the rights and interests of one individual cannot prevail over the interests of society at large. Therefore, the government must take quite serious measures so that the rest of society does not suffer.