As part of the island’s ongoing preparedness measures for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the Governor has today introduced the Public Health (Coronavirus)(Temporary Provisions) Regulations 2020. These Regulations have been made by the Governor under the Public Health Ordinance 1967.
The Regulations will provide the Ascension Island Government (AIG) with the powers necessary to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also ensuring there are checks and balances in place and that the fundamental rights of individuals are respected. The Regulations are drafted in a way that allows the approach of the AIG to adapt to the changing level of risk both in Ascension and overseas. As an additional safeguard, the Regulations will expire after a two-year period, although it should be noted that they may be repealed sooner if it’s determined they are no longer needed.
The powers within the Regulations are varied, but include the power to isolate those suspected of being contaminated with COVID-19, as well as to close public venues and spaces in the event of an outbreak.
Within these Regulations are the powers to enforce these public health measures, along with penalties of up to £5,000 and six months in prison for those who do not adhere to them.
Whilst it is expected that individuals will recognise the risks that the COVID-19 threat poses to Ascension and react accordingly, this additional step has been taken as a precaution to provide these public health measures with the legal authority necessary to enforce them as and when required.