Legislative preparedness for the control of pandemics – using Taiwan as an example

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
At the early stage of an emerging disease, information is often insufficient for governments to determine what actions are necessary to contain its transmission. Taiwanese society was not prepared when the SARS epidemic hit in 2003. After the SARS epidemic, Taiwan began to overhaul its Communicable Disease Control Act authorising the government to act in a murky situation without the fear of violating due process. In hindsight, the new law has contributed a large part to the effective containment of Covid-19 in Taiwan. However, a new issue emerged concerning the conflict between an individual’s freedom of confidential communication and the government’s use of cell phone positioning to monitor self-quarantine. Although Taiwan’s Council of Grand Justices previously resolved the concern over potential breaching of due-process, the legislature may have to strike a balance between public health emergency and the use of an electronic footprint to trace individual activities.

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