15 April 2020
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With an invisible enemy like Covid-19, some might find it difficult to take the current situation seriously unless it directly affects them. The same might be said for the preventative measures, news reports, the national state of disaster recently declared as well as the regulations published in the Government Gazette.
A lackadaisical approach in this regard will have far reaching consequences for both the actual transmission of the virus as well as the prosecution of individuals who contravene the regulations currently in force. To quote Bheki Cele, our current Minister of Police: “it’s not negotiations, it’s the law.”
Should you find yourself on the wrong side of this law by not abiding to these regulations, your prosecution may be a reality before your first cough.
For instance, if you are suspected of being infected with Covid-19, you may not refuse consent for a medical examination, admission to isolation/quarantine or treatment to prevent transmission. Not complying with this can land you in isolation/quarantine for 48 hours pending a warrant being issued by a competent court on application by an enforcement officer for the medical
examination contemplated in the regulations.
It is also well-known that these regulations limit gatherings in this time, with a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or to both afine and imprisonment looming for transgressors.
However what most people don’t know, is that any person who intentionally makes a misrepresentation of his/her own infection with Covid-19 or any other persons status for that matter is guilty of an offence which may also lead to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding sixmonths or both.
It even goes as far as stating that any person who publishes a statement with the intent to deceive others pertaining to Covid-19, will meet the same fate.
Lastly, should you intentionally expose another person to Covid-19 you may be prosecuted for offences including assault, attempted murder and murder.
These are serious offences with serious consequences.
As South Africans, we should not see these regulations as threats that are imposed to ensue fear, but rather as strict measures to protect our citizens in the uncertain fight against Covid-19.