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The ministry explained that breach of the law is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine of up to Dh10,000. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: iStockphoto

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that penalties provided for in Federal Law No. 14 of 2014 on the control of communicable diseases apply to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after it was officially included by the Ministry of Health and Community Protection in the list of communicable diseases attached to the law.

The ministry noted that the sanctions stipulated are aimed at protecting public health and strengthening the state’s efforts in implementing the strategy of combating communicable diseases and preventing their spread, including the coronavirus.

The ministry explained that breach of the law is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine of up to Dh10,000.

Doctors, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and medical practitioners who fail to inform if they know or suspect someone has been infected or has died of any communicable disease, are liable under this rule.

The same applies to the infected and their work colleagues, or the commander a ship, aircraft or other vehicle if they suspect an infected person has travelled in their vehicle. It is a crime if the same is not reported to the Ministry of Health within 24 hours.

The law also punishes with imprisonment and/or a fine of not less than Dh10,000 and not more than Dh50,000, those infected who travel to any place other than a health establishment without approval of the ministry or health agency.

The same penalty applies to anyone who fails to go to the ministry or health agency for treatment, counselling, awareness of the risks of infection and ways of transmission when he is known to have a communicable disease. Anyone who does not comply with preventive measures, implementprescriptions and abide by the instructions given to them, in order to prevent the transmission of infection to others.

Any person who knows that they are suffering from a communicable disease is punishable by a minimum of 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of not less than Dh50,000 and not more than Dh100,000 dirhams, if they deliberately transmit the disease. Repeated violations result in lengthier sentences.

The law takes into account the rights of people with communicable diseases, defines their duties and determines the methods of reporting communicable diseases, the procedures to be followed when detected and the procedures for control, as well as the conditions of isolation and quarantine and the procedures to which those who come to the country are infected or suspected of contracting these diseases.