Measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic have limited a number of fundamental rights to an unprecedented extent. The rights of economic activity, movement, assembly and religious worship have been subjected to the most severe restrictions. Here, however, lies the great danger of the gradual consolidation of a constitutional mithridatism.
On August 10, the Slovak cabinet approved a series of changes to the COVID automat – an emotionally charged topic that had led to several anti-government protests in recent weeks. The new changes are due to come into force on August 16. They come after the last set of restrictions regarding the border regime was suspended by the Slovak Constitutional Court, giving the people who only got the 1st dose of vaccine the same rights as those who are unvaccinated.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected most areas of Ukrainian life. A study by the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER) found that during the pandemic, traditional methods of communication of civil society with the authorities have declined significantly, especially those involving face-to-face meetings. Instead, the tools of e-democracy became widespread.
After the recent protests against Slovak doctors and experts, the government has now become the latest target in a series of anti-vax/anti-pandemic measures protests. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Slovak parliament to voice their discontent with new pandemic measures.
The European Commission has launched an initiative on the evaluation and revision of the general pharmaceutical legislation with an overall aim to ensure a future-proof and crisis-resistant regulatory system. The revision is intended to ensure access to affordable medicines, to foster innovation, including in areas of unmet medical need, to improve security of supply and address shortages, to promote technological development and to reduce red tape.
The justice of compensating for the quarantine is once again one of the main societal concerns. Previously made mistakes are leading to more and more flawed interpretations and force us to go back to the origins of the crisis. Did companies, which received “quarantine relief” from the government, have a right to breathe, move and change? In economic terms, it means to pay, invest, purchase, trade and transfer.
In March 2020, under the pressure of a growing pandemic, we voluntarily shut down the economy for the first time to protect the lives of fellow citizens. Over the next twelve months, when the economy and the people have already been locked in a lockdown, we have managed to completely devastate the services segment, we have managed to devastate children in online education and, worst of all, we have not prevented a high number of deaths from COVID.
At the end of the last month, the disinformation media began publishing articles calling for protests in front houses of well-known doctors who spoke out in favor of vaccination. Although such disinformation narratives and threats to doctors advocating vaccination have been present on the Internet for some time, they have rarely left the realms of social media and transformed into a real physical threat to the doctors.
I wanted to expand on the idea that relatively novel platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, are changing the way we see things. Everyone with a camera phone can make videos without any regards to aesthetic rules about composition, lighting, narrative structure and so forth. Those videos that are much more composed are regarded as too artificial, and are trying too hard, whereas realism gained in importance.
The rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in Poland is rapidly declining. People are living in a renewed false sense of security. They feel that they have returned to normal life. This feeling may, however, disappear in the fall, which will turn out to be a nightmarish return to lockdown and health care gridlock.
It is time to act now. It is time to act radically. The Polish government must follow the path set by other European countries, including France.