JOHANNESBURG – South Africans have been warned that it’s a criminal offence to refuse isolation once a person is diagnosed with COVID-19.
The warning comes after a Gauteng family fled from health authorities once two members tested positive for the virus.
Government went to court to force the family into quarantine once they were located.
The regulations, which were passed in 2017 empowers the head of provincial health departments to apply to the High Court for a court order if people whose positive statuses are confirmed refuse to consent to various measures.
The regulations relating to surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions empower the government to treat, isolate, and quarantine people to prevent transmission.
Constitutional law expert professor Pierre de Vos said there were serious consequences for South Africans who intended on contravening the guidelines.
“If you refuse to obey any of the guidelines, it’s a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted and imprisoned for 10 years.”
The regulations also consider other constitutional requirements such as the full respect for the dignity, confidentiality, human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons.
However, these are balanced with the responsibility not to expose the public to health risks.