In recognition of the challenges of epidemics around the world, the Egyptian government is prepared to enact the power to declare a state of emergency and suspend civil liberties when disaster strikes, according to the New York Times.
Even if the conditions to implement emergency measures to contain epidemics have been met, the Egyptian parliament must first secure a two-thirds majority of votes.
The government has taken considerable steps in recent years to prepare for epidemic outbreaks, building a permanent quarantine center at Cairo’s Shorouk hospital to quarantine infectious diseases and training health officials to detect and stamp out the disease. But Egypt’s health system is unprepared for the outbreak of an epidemic.
Current sewage systems, inadequate water supplies and sewage overflow are contributing to the spread of infectious diseases that are endemic to the country, according to the Times.
The situation is so dire that the government has designated three natural disaster zones in Egypt, where normal laws do not apply during disasters. Conditions in these zones are expected to deteriorate as the year goes on, increasing the likelihood of an outbreak.