Sunday 05 february 2023 - 2:27:22 am

Ministry of Justice: Penalties stipulated in 'Communicable Disease Law' apply to concealment of COVID-19

ABU DHABI, 24th March, 2020 (WAM) -- Federal Law No. 14 of 2014 on combating communicable diseases will now apply to the coronavirus, COVID-19, after it was formally included in the law by the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the list of communicable diseases, the Ministry of Justice has disclosed.

The Ministry stated that the penalties stipulated in the law aim to protect public health and aid the country’s efforts in the execution of its strategy to combat communicable diseases, including the coronavirus.

The Ministry explained that doctors, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and medical professionals who failed to inform the competent health authorities within 24 hours that a person was suffering from or died of a communicable disease, would be liable of imprisonment or a fine of no more than AED10,000 or both.

The same applies to any adult who came in contact with an infected person but failed to inform the Ministry of Health and Prevention. This includes a professional superior or educational supervisor of an individual suspected of carrying a communicable disease. Similarly, a captain of a ship or airplane or a driver of a public transport vehicle would be held accountable for transporting infected individuals.

The law shall punish - with imprisonment and/or a fine of no less than AED10,000 and no more than AED50,000 whoever knows that he or she is infected or suspects thereof and fails to inform the health authorities while visiting any place other than a medical facility without the approval of the Ministry or the concerned authority.

The same applies to individuals who fail to show up for tests and treatment despite knowing that they are infected or suspect the possibility of an infection. Likewise, the law applies to those who refuse to adhere to the preventive measures advised or prescriptions and instructions given to them.

The law includes the punishment of up to five years in jail and/or a fine between AED50,000 to AED100,000 for any person who knows that he or she suffers from a communicable disease and yet intentionally indulges in behavior that exposes others to transmission. In the case of repeated offences, such individuals shall be imprisoned for a period twice that of the five years stipulated by law.

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Nour Salman/Tariq alfaham