The Intercultural Approach to Covid 19 Management

In Germany, France and the Indian Ocean countries

by Stéphanie Rohlfing-Dijoux (Volume editor) Rajendra Parsad Gunputh (Volume editor)
©2024 Edited Collection 390 Pages


This book is divided into 5 chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of the management of this unprecedented health crisis. The first chapter is devoted to issues of respect for constitutional law and fundamental freedoms in the countries examined focusing on emergency measures. The second chapter deals with Covid management in a comparative study, taking into account intercultural aspects and influences in several areas of economic and social life. The third chapter looks at the secondary effects of pandemic protection measures. These effects have not always been sufficiently taken into account in government decisions. It is only by looking back that we can analyse these consequences. Life during the pandemic was largely reduced to digital life. To some extent, this digitisation has allowed activities to continue, but it has not been without risk. Chapter 4 looks at data protection during this period, the role of the media and the reorganisation of working and industrial relationships. Finally, the last chapter deals with health issues, which were at the heart of Covid's management.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table des matières
  • Preface
  • Préface
  • Part I Epidemic and Emergency Legislation: Législation sur les Epidémies et les Situations d’Urgence
  • Law-making and rule of law during the COVID-19-pandemic in Germany
  • Concerns regarding the restrictions on freedom and discrimination measures during the recent health crisis in Germany and France – What perspective for the rule of law?
  • Les conséquences du mensonge sur son statut vaccinal en droits civil et pénal
  • German fundamental rights in times of a global health crisis
  • The Covid (miscellaneous provision) act et The Quarantine Act à l’Ile Maurice
  • La mise mettant en otage des municipalités : la réforme du Local Government Act (LGA) et le renvoi des élections municipales en raison de la crise sanitaire
  • Part II Management of COVID: La gestion du Covid
  • The management of Covid, a comparative analysis of German federal and French centralized management of the crisis
  • Covid and the risk culture: Understanding the different strategies in covid management
  • Responses to the Covid crisis in antitrust and merger control
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the public debt of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Part III COVID-19 and Economic and Social Law: COVID-19 et le droit économique et social
  • The effects of COVID-19 on quality auditor’s report
  • COVID-19 and new working conditions as the new normal: The domino effect – The Mauritian and African human rights comparative case study
  • L’avenir du travail et le contrat de travail face au COVID-19 – l’expérience mauricienne
  • An empirical study on socio economic status of Indians in turbulent times of COVID-19
  • Part IV COVID-19, Media, Technology and Digitisation: COVID-19 Medien, Technologie et digitalistion
  • The protection of employee personal data in times of COVID-19 health crisis
  • The technology acceptance model post COVID-19
  • The COVID-19 crisis in the EU, France and Germany: Between data sovereignty and GAFAM dependency
  • Freedom of expression and the spread of misinformation during COVID-19 in Mauritius
  • Part V Health, End of Life and COVID-19/Santé, fin de vie et COVID-19
  • The right to life and care in a crisis situation with limited resources
  • The challenge of vulnerability in the health crisis: Comparative study of the French and German health laws on the protection of vulnerable adults
  • Brand experience in the COVID-19 age-health and safety as the key factors
  • Response to domestic violence due to COVID-19 at international and national levels
  • Hommage à Pierre Rosario Domingue


Managing COVID-19 was an enormous challenge for the whole world. No country has been spared. The huge upheaval in daily activity has affected every area of life: family life, training and education, work, economic life, health and psychology. The extent of the consequences and side-effects, which often persist in the long term, cannot yet be fully assessed. This colloquium, co-organized by the Universities of Paris Nanterre, Potsdam and Mauritius, with the collaboration of the Law Reform Commission and the support of the Franco-German University, was an opportunity to bring together research professors from these different countries and from different disciplines, lawyers and economists, to compare the different forms of pandemic management in a multidisciplinary and comparative way.

Some countries have been more affected than others, because of their climate, demographics, population density and various other factors. It has to be said that there has been no equality in the face of the pandemic. A country’s geographical location and culture therefore had a major influence on government measures during the pandemic. The various contributions in this volume highlight these differences, particularly between small island and developing countries and the countries of the European Union.

Some countries, particularly small island states, were particularly hard hit because medical resources and structures quickly proved inadequate. The fear of being overwhelmed by the influx of hospitalisations had a strong influence on the measures taken by governments to protect their populations as much as possible from the harmful consequences of the pandemic.

These measures, which were numerous and varied, were exceptional in their scale and coercive nature: closure of borders, closure of shops, schools and universities, closure of hotels, ban on leaving the house and various curfew operations. No one would have imagined, before this pandemic, that such restrictions on individual freedoms could be envisaged by democratic governments.

Public reaction to these measures has also varied greatly from country to country. In some countries, the courts have been inundated with freedom applications and proceedings to challenge the constitutionality of government measures. In others, there have been few, if any, challenges. This behaviour in the face of the pandemic is also a factor that reveals the sociological culture of the country and was the subject of this study.

Finally, we need to distinguish between different periods in the management of the crisis. The surprise effect and the failure of governments to prepare for a health crisis of this scale was significant for the beginning of the management of Covid, a period marked by the imitation of measures from one country to another, confusion and contradictory, uncoordinated measures. As new waves of Covid appeared over a period of two years, with the emergence of new variants, advances in research into the virus and the discovery of a vaccine, protective measures changed and were adapted to the new situation. During this phase, there were more differences between countries in the way they managed the crisis.

It is certain, in hindsight, that with the scientific knowledge acquired during this period and the assessment of the need for and effectiveness of ‘anti-COVID’ measures, the assessment would have been very different today.

The title of this publication of the proceedings of a 2022 symposium suggests the existence of a link between a country’s culture and its management of COVID. The conference provided an opportunity to look back at the decisions taken in several countries and to examine how their cultural and geographical contexts had influenced the choices made by their leaders.

The first part of the conference was devoted to emergency measures restricting freedoms and their conflict with constitutions and fundamental freedoms. This part enabled a comparative approach between France, Germany and Mauritius.

The second part concerns the management of Covid in a comparative study between the countries examined and the influences in several areas of economic and social life.

The serious measures taken to combat the pandemic have had side-effects that were not fully anticipated by those responsible. In particular, the economic and social consequences have been far-reaching, plunging many countries into serious crisis. These consequences are discussed in Part 3.

One of the major consequences of the pandemic and the resulting confinement is that life has largely been reduced to a digital one. To a certain extent, this digitalisation has enabled certain activities to continue, but it has not been without risk. The heavy use of the internet during this period meant that data protection had to be strengthened, an issue addressed in Part 4. This part also deals with the role of the media during the pandemic and the consequences for employment law.

Part 5 deals specifically with health issues related to the pandemic, in particular the protection of vulnerable people and the problem of allocating resources in a context of insufficient capacity to care for all patients, which makes ‘triage’ inevitable.

Stephanie Rohlfing-Dijoux

Paris Nanterre, Mauritius, July 2023


La gestion du COVID-19 a représenté un énorme défi pour le monde entier. Aucun pays n’a été épargné. L’immense bouleversement de l’activité quotidienne a touché tous les domaines de la vie : La vie familiale, la formation et l’éducation, le travail, la vie économique, la santé, la psychologie. L’ampleur des conséquences et des effets secondaires qui subsistent souvent à long termes ne peut pas encore être totalement évalué. Ce colloque, co-organisés par les Universités Paris Nanterre, Potsdam et University of Mauritius et avec la collaboration de la Law Reform Commission et le soutien de l’Université franco-allemande, a été l’occasion de réunir des enseignants chercheurs de ces différents pays et de disciplines différentes, juristes et économistes qui ont permis de confronter les différentes formes de gestion de la pandémie de manière pluridisciplinaire et comparatif.

Certains pays ont été plus touchés que d’autres, en raison de leur climat, de leur démographie, de la densité de leur population et de divers autres facteurs. Force est de constater qu’il n’y a pas eu d’égalité face à la pandémie. La situation géographique et la culture du pays a exercé donc une grande influence sur les mesures gouvernementales pendant la pandémie. Les différentes contributions de ce volume mettent en lumières ces différences, notamment entre les petits pays insulaires et en développement et les Etats de l’Union européenne.

Certains Etats, en particulier les petits Etats insulaires, ont été particulièrement affectés car les moyens et structures médicaux se sont avérés très vite insuffisants. La peur d’être dépassés par des flux d’hospitalisation a fortement influencé les mesures prises par les gouvernants afin de protéger le plus possible leurs populations des conséquences néfastes de la pandémie.

Nombreuses et diversifiées, ces mesures ont été exceptionnelles par leur ampleur et leur caractère coercitif : fermeture des frontières, fermeture des commerces, des écoles et Universités, des hôtels, interdiction de sortir de chez soi et diverses opérations de couvre-feu. Personne n’aurait imaginé, avant cette pandémie, que de telles restrictions des libertés individuelles pourraient être envisagées par des gouvernants démocratiques.

Les réactions de la population face à ces mesures ont été également très différentes d’un pays à l’autre. Dans certains pays, les tribunaux ont été submergés de référés liberté et de procédures en anti-constitutionnalité des mesures gouvernementales. Dans d’autres, les contestations ont été rares, voire inexistantes. Ce comportement face à la pandémie est aussi un facteur qui révèle la culture sociologique du pays et qui a fait objet de cette étude.

Enfin, il faut distinguer des différentes périodes dans la gestion de la crise. L’effet surprise et la non-préparation des Etats à une crise sanitaire d’une telle ampleur a marqué le début de la gestion du Covid, période qui a été marqué par l’imitation des mesures d’un Etats à l’autre, la confusion, des mesures contradictoires et non coordonnées. Au fur et à mesure des nouvelles vagues de Covid pendant une durée de deux ans, l’apparition de nouvelles variantes, l’avancement de la recherche sur le virus et la découverte du vaccin, les mesures de protection ont changées et ont été adaptées à la nouvelle situation. Dans cette phase on peut constater plus de différences entre les pays dans la gestion de la crise.

Il est certain, a posteriori, qu’avec les connaissances scientifiques acquises pendant cette période ainsi que l’évaluation de la nécessité et de l’efficacité des mesures « anti-COVID », l’appréciation aurait été très différente aujourd’hui.

Le titre de cette publication des actes d’un colloque de 2022 suggère l’existence d’un lien entre la culture d’un pays et sa gestion du COVID. Ce colloque a, en effet, permis de revenir sur les décisions prises dans plusieurs pays et d’examiner de quelle manière leur contexte culturel et géographique avait influencé les choix des dirigeants.

La première partie du colloque a été consacré aux mesures d’urgence, limitatives de libertés et leur conflit avec les constitutions et libertés fondamentales. Cette partie a permis une approche comparative entre la France, l’Allemagne et l’Ile Maurice.

La deuxième partie concerne la gestion du Covid dans une étude comparative entre les pays examinés et l’influences dans plusieurs domaines de la vie économique et sociale.

Les graves mesures contre la pandémie ont eu des effets secondaires qui n’ont pas été anticipées à leur juste mesure par les responsables. Notamment les conséquences économiques et sociales ont été très importantes et ont plongé beaucoup de pays dans de graves crises. Ces conséquences font l’objet de la troisième partie.

Une des conséquences importantes de la pandémie et du confinement qui en a résulté est liée au fait que la vie en grande partie a été réduite à une vie digitale. Cette digitalisation a, d’une certaine manière, permis de poursuivre certaines activités mais elle ne s’est pas faite sans risques. La forte utilisation d’internet pendant cette période a nécessité un renforcement de la protection des données, question traitée dans la quatrième partie. Celle-ci traite aussi le rôle des médias pendant la pandémie ainsi que les conséquences en droit du travail.

La partie 5 traite spécifiquement les questions de santé liées à la pandémie, notamment la protection des personnes vulnérables ainsi que la problématique de la répartition des moyens dans un contexte d’insuffisance de capacités de prise en charge de l’ensemble patients qui rend le « triage » inévitable.

Stephanie Rohlfing-Dijoux

Paris Nanterre, Mauritius, Juillet 2023

Part I Epidemic and Emergency LegislationLégislation sur les Epidémies et les Situations d’Urgence

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries resorted to exceptional emergency legislation, often without going through the democratic channels of the legislature. This part analyses the rationale behind these laws, distinguishing between the different periods of the pandemic when they were enacted. It also looks at the constitutional basis for these laws and respect for fundamental freedoms.

Pendant la pandémie du COVID-19 la plupart des pays ont eu recours à des législations exceptionnelles prises en urgence, souvent sans passer par les voies démocratiques de législateur. Cette partie propose une analyse de la justification de ces législations en distinguant les différentes périodes de la pandémie où elles ont été décidées. L’analyse porte également sur le fondement constitutionnel de ces législations et sur le respect des libertés fondamentaux.

Law-making and rule of law during the COVID-19-pandemic in Germany

Kerstin PEGLOW1


The COVID-19-pandemic presented a challenge for law-making and the Rule of law all over the world. In Germany, individual liberty and fundamental rights have been restricted to an unprecedented extent. Crisis legislation has therefore been subject to strong criticism. In particular, the respect of the Rule of law was a highly discussed topic. This paper addresses the question of whether Germany was in a ‘state of exception’ during the pandemic and whether the separation of powers – on the one hand between the legislative and the executive branch and on the other hand between the federal and the regional authorities – was observed.

La pandémie de COVID-19 a constitué un défi pour l’État de droit et les législateurs dans le monde entier. En Allemagne, la liberté individuelle et les droits fondamentaux ont été restreints dans une mesure sans précédent. La législation relative à la crise sanitaire a donc fait l’objet de vives critiques. En particulier, le respect de l’État de droit a été un sujet très discuté. Ce document aborde la question de savoir si l’Allemagne était en ‘état d’exception’ pendant la pandémie et si la séparation des pouvoirs – d’une part entre les pouvoirs législatif et exécutif et d’autre part entre les autorités fédérales et régionales – a été respectée.


No country in the world was prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic which appeared in early 2020. The rapidly spreading virus forced governments on every continent to take swift and efficient action to deal with a public health emergency, which was a challenge for law-making and the Rule of Law in each country. Worldwide, the legal approaches and practical measures used to combat the pandemic have been substantial; society and state institutions were called upon to respond immediately to a health crisis of unknown extent. The COVID-19 pandemic was a surprise, but pandemics are, historically speaking, not new: Since the origins of mankind there have always been pandemics. In recent times, there has been in the early 20th century the plague of the Spanish flu causing millions of deaths, the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and now we are facing the COVID-19. Globalized and industrialized living conditions, especially human mobility, play a major part in worldwide spread of these pandemics which are transmitted mainly from animals to humans. The reactions of states and societies to the current pandemic have been similar, but they have not been identical.

If you are consulting legal publications on the COVID-19 pandemic measures very often you can read about a ‘state of emergency’ or the use of ‘legal emergency powers’. State of emergency laws or a state of exception declared by the government usually frighten the population, as they generally signal a neglect of democratic decision-making processes in favour of authoritarian measures. When a ‘state of emergency’, a ‘state of exception’ or a ‘state of disaster’ is declared, a government is allowed to suspend laws to restore normal conditions within its territory. In legal terms, this is a significant encroachment on the rights of citizens and the separation of powers. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it should be noted that the use of the terms ‘state of emergency’ or ‘state of exception’ often did not match the legal means by which the health crisis was to be addressed. Thus, extreme caution should be exercised when using emergency terminology.

Concerning the European Union, the tools adopted by the Member States for the COVID-19 legislation were not coordinated. Each member state had its own legal method to combat the pandemic using constitutional or ordinary legal instruments. Despite this, there was also convergence in the legal approach: the crisis was the ‘hour of the executive’2, Governments and health ministers made use of extensive powers and parliaments were only gradually involved in the development of legal instruments to tackle the crisis. In the heat of the moment, democratic and constitutional elements often fell by the wayside, at least temporarily. In the 27 Member States, there was a certain consistency in the concrete measures imposed on citizens and the economy: variously designed curfews, like in France with a self-issued ‘attestation de déplacement dérogatoire’3 with a time specification, or in Germany with the restriction of meetings to a certain number of selected people, the prohibition of staying overnight in hotels for private purposes, travel bans within and outside the country, mandatory Covid tests, restricted shopping opportunities, closure of schools, etc.

In France, in response to the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, the emergency law of 23 March 20204 introduced into the public health code the possibility of establishing a ‘state of health emergency’ in the event of a health disaster. It could be qualified as a statutory regime because it refers to a regime provided by statute, rather than by the constitution5. The state of health emergency is an exceptional measure that can be decided by the Council of Ministers in the event of a health disaster, in particular a pandemic, that endangers the health of the population. The provisions of the Public Health Code organising the state of health emergency were adopted on a temporary basis. They were to expire on 1 April 2021 and were extended until 31 December 2021. The law of 10 November 20216 on various health protection measures maintained them in force until 31 July 2022 although the government had the power to decide to lift restrictions earlier in case of a favourable evolution of the epidemic.

In Germany, regarding its normative responses to the crisis, the pandemic has been seen as a challenge to state institutions and constitutional requirements: not since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany have there been such far-reaching restrictions on public and private life7. Crisis management and crisis legislation have therefore been subject to strong criticism since March 2020. Respect for the Rule of law8 in particular has been a highly discussed topic. In this presentation we will first have a look at the German crisis legislation and the question of whether we may speak of a ‘state of emergency’ or of a ‘state of exception’. Then we will address the so-called ‘federal emergency brake’ and problems caused by it to the vertical distribution of power in Germany which is a federal state where the power is divided between federal authorities and those of the 16 federal states, the Länder. Finally, we will briefly discuss the respect of the distribution of power between the legislative and executive branches during the pandemic crisis.

I. German crisis legislation

The legal basis for German crisis legislation is the Infection Protection Act (Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Humans, IPA), which has been modified several times since the beginning of the crisis. On 25 March 20209, the German Parliament recognized for the first time an ‘epidemic situation of national scope’ with the entry into force of Section 5 (1) Sentence 1 of the Infection Protection Act due to the spread of the new Coronavirus in Germany. In resolutions of 18 November 2020, 4 March 2021, and 11 June 2021, the Parliament (Bundestag) again stated that the ‘epidemic situation of national scope’ persisted.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2024 (January)
social and economic problems health law triage Management of Covid 19 rule of law
Bruxelles, Berlin, Chennai, Lausanne, New York, Oxford, 2024. 390 pp., 5 fig. col.

Biographical notes

Stéphanie Rohlfing-Dijoux (Volume editor) Rajendra Parsad Gunputh (Volume editor)

Stephanie Rohlfing-Dijoux PhD in German Law and PhD in French Private Law, is a full Professor at the University Paris Nanterre since 2008. She is in charge of the German Law Curriculum between the Universities of Paris Nanterre and Potsdam. She is a guest professor at the University of Mauritius and the GNLU India.


Title: The Intercultural Approach to Covid 19 Management