Thursday, April 09, 2020

Minister of the Supreme Court prohibits federal government to overturn decisions of states and municipalities on isolation

Minister Alexandre de Moraes, the Supreme Court (STF), decided on Wednesday (8) that the federal government can not overturn decisions of states and municipalities on social isolation, quarantine, teaching activities, restrictions on trade and the movement of people. By the decision of the minister, states and municipalities can establish these measures as a way to combat the advance of the new coronavirus. The Planalto Palace said it will not comment on the matter. Alexandre de Moraes made the decision when analyzing an action by the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB). The entity asked the Supreme Court to compel President Jair Bolsonaro to respect the decisions of governors; not interfere in the technical work of the Ministry of Health; and follow the Protocol of the World Health Organization (WHO). "It is not the responsibility of the federal executive branch to unilaterally remove the decisions of state, district and municipal governments that, in the exercise of their constitutional powers, adopted or will adopt, within their respective territories, important restrictive measures such as the imposition of social distancing/isolation, quarantine, suspension of teaching activities, trade restrictions, cultural activities and the movement of people, among other recognized effective mechanisms for reducing the number of infected and deaths, as demonstrated by the recommendation of the WHO (World Health Organization) and several scientific technical studies", wrote the minister in the decision. In another passage, Alexandre de Moraes said it is a "notorious fact" that there is a "serious divergence of positions between authorities of various federative levels and even between federal authorities components of the same level of government, causing insecurity, restlessness and justified fear throughout society". The minister did not mention a specific case, but in recent weeks Bolsonaro and the Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, expressed different opinions about isolation. While the minister advocates isolation, as recommended by the WHO, Bolsonaro advocates the end of "mass confinement" and the reopening of trade. This week, Mandetta went so far as to say that the Ministry of Health gives the "parameters" of prevention measures to be adopted, but that the population needs to follow the guidelines of the governors. Still in the decision, Alexandre de Moraes said that there needs to be unity and cooperation between the powers at a time of "severe crisis". The Minister of the Supreme Court also stressed that it is necessary to avoid the "personalisms", considered by him "harmful to the condition of public policies". "In times of severe crisis, the strengthening of the union and the expansion of cooperation between the three powers, within all federative entities, they are essential and indispensable instruments to be used by the various leaders in defense of the public interest, always with absolute respect for the constitutional mechanisms of institutional balance and maintenance of harmony and independence between the powers, which should be increasingly valued, avoiding the exacerbation of any personalisms harmful to the conduct of public policies essential to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic", he wrote. Last Saturday, the Attorney General of the Union (AGU) sent a document to the Supreme Court in which he stated that all measures adopted by the federal government aim to ensure the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and WHO.
G1-08/04/2020 News Item translated automatically
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