New COVID-19 Law Lab to provide framework for managing pandemic globally

—poorly designed laws may have adverse effects

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 21, 2020

Today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the launch of its COVID-19 Law Lab, in collaboration with several other key stakeholders.

The database will comprise measures adopted by countries including state of emergency declarations, legal measures relating to mask-wearing, access to medication and vaccines etc. It is expected to provide guidance for countries and expand as more countries and themes are added.

According to a release, the initiative is aimed at gathering and sharing legal documents from over 190 countries, to help nations establish and implement strong legal frameworks for managing the pandemic and to protect the health and wellbeing of populations while adhering to international human rights standards.

“Strong legal frameworks are critical for national COVID-19 responses,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.


WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“As health is global, legal frameworks should be aligned with international commitments to respond to current and emerging public health risks,” he added

The release further stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in legislative action. However, it was noted that poorly designed laws can harm marginalised populations and lead to stigma and discrimination which can hinder efforts to end the pandemic.

“To ensure responses to the pandemic are effective, humane and sustainable, governments must use the law as a tool to uphold the human rights and dignity of people affected by COVID-19,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS.


Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, UNAIDS

The new Lab can be found at It is a joint project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.