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‘Violating quarantine orders crime punishable by law’

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas , Petra - Apr 07,2020 - Last updated at Apr 07,2020

Jordan has imposed one of the most stringent measures in the region to curb the spread of the coronavirus, putting in place a nationwide curfew (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — Any person who contracted COVID-19 or is suspected to be infected yet knowingly or unknowingly comes in contact with people is considered to have committed a crime of causing harm or death to others, Jordan Bars Association (JBA) President Mazen Irsheidat said on Tuesday.

The Defence Law does not annul the Public Health Law and the Penal Code but rather adds to them, Irsheidat said, noting that those who did not know they had the virus and came into contact with others “are not as severely trialled as those who did so knowingly.”

He said that those who violate quarantine by coming into contact with people are not only violating the law, but also jeopardising the whole nation and the efforts of the government, the authorities, the army and the medical staff.

These crimes and their trials are carried by the Court of First Instance, which decides punishment under the defence orders, the Public Health Law and also the Penal Code as it sees fit, which could reach imprisonment for three years, Irsheidat said, noting that those who were harmed in the process are allowed to sue as well to be compensated for the damage they received.

Also on Tuesday, Media Minister Amjad Adaileh reiterated in a presser that any infected patient that attempts to violate the Health Ministry’s quarantine and medical instructions will be held accountable under the law, and have to pay a fine or face imprisonment for endangering the lives of citizens.

“The quarantine policy at home seems to be ineffective with some people, so we will later announce new locations for quarantine, and in case a person who needs to be quarantined choses to enter any of the designated hotels to spend the quarantine days will have to pay for it at their own expense,” Adaileh said during the presser.

Adaileh warned the public against discussing the lives of patients and those suspected of contracting the virus.

He urged people to contact the Health Ministry or the free number 193 to report any possible cases and help investigation teams instead of spreading fake news.

“It is not shameful to be sick or be thought sick, and it is not shameful to be put in quarantine, but it is shameful to hide infection and endanger the health and safety of people,” the minister said.

The public prosecution will chase any person infected with COVID-19 and does not commit to the quarantine and instructions of the Health Ministry, endangering other people’s life, which is a crime punishable by applicable laws, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Public prosecution president Mohammad Shraideh said that any person who causes harm to others will be referred to the judiciary to receive the proper punishment.

Article 22, section A of the Public Health Law states that in case a pandemic spreads in the Kingdom or in any of its parts, the minister is required to urgently take all measures to combat it and prevent the spread, announcing the pandemic in media outlets and the official gazette.

Section A of the article also states that the minister has the authority to take all necessary measures to eradicate the pandemic.

These include isolating the infected, those vulnerable to infection and those suspected of being infected, preventing their movement, administering serums and vaccines, inspecting and destroying contaminated materials, burying the dead, inspecting public transport means and controlling real-estate and transport vehicles for as long as necessary in return for a just compensation.

Section B of Article 22 states that any person who on purpose harbours an infected person or causes someone to contract an epidemical disease or refuses to heed measures asked of them to prevent the spread are considered to have committed a crime punishable by the law.

Article 343 of the Penal Code also states that those who cause the death of others out of carelessness, lack of precaution and violation of laws and regulations are to be jailed for six months up to three years.

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