KAMPALA – Any one who helps another person to escape from quarantine during this era of coronavirus faces two months in prison.
The minister of Health also is empowered to put any area under a lockdown should it be suspected to be infected with coronavirus.
These are contained in a statutory instrument issued and gazetted by Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on March 24, 2020.
“Any person who aids a person who is confined in a place designated for isolation or for quarantine for COVID -19, in escaping or attempting to escape from the place commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for two months,” Section 11 (2)(a) of the statutory instrument ‘The Public Health (Control of COVID – 19) rules, 2020,’ reads in part.
According to the instrument, the minister is empowered to declare a place as infected area with Coronavirus and put under lock down for 28 days.
“All persons residing in a declared infected area shall undergo such medical inspection or examination, as the medical officers of health may direct,” Section 13 (2) of the instrument states.
The instrument bans gatherings, mass physical treating, bars, public meetings and live animal markets until April 16-20, 2020.
“Where a place or premises specified in subrule (1) is open contrary to the provision or where any activity, event, meeting or gathering specified in subrule (1) is held contrary to the provision, the person in charge of the place or the event, meeting or gathering, as the case may be, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months,” Section 9 (2) of the instrument adds.
The instrument has been gazetted amid reports that some senior government officials and other members of the public, who are coming from abroad, have flouted ministry of health guidelines on quarantine. There were reports that some people bribed police officers to allow them leave isolation centres.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced five more cases of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number to 14. Of these, two were Chinese nationals who were arrested in Zombo District after allegedly bribing their way out of quarantine.