To defend against the H7N9 strain of bird flu rapidly spreading in China, governors will be authorized to “strongly advise” people who are sick or suspected of being infected with the disease to be hospitalized and to restrict their employment, according to countermeasures compiled Wednesday by a health ministry panel.
Those who ignore the orders will face punishment.
Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials said ordinances under
the Infectious Disease Law and the Quarantine Law will be revised early
The countermeasures state that patients or others working in the
hospitality or food industries will be ordered to stay away from their
jobs to prevent the virus from spreading if they are suspected of being
The Infectious Disease Law allows the government to bypass ordinary
procedures for taking emergency measures by designating infectious
diseases as those likely to seriously affect human health. The panel
proposed designating the H7N9 bird flu strain as one such disease.
The law states that avian influenza, including H7N9, is a Class 4
disease, the second-lowest ranking on the scale to five, based on degree
Once designated, an infectious disease can become subject to measures
used to deal with Class 1 to 3 infections, including compulsory
hospitalization and exclusion from the workplace, for up to two years.
The medical costs are covered by the government.