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07.04.2020 Africa

Tunis warns rule breaking virus carriers face manslaughter charge

By AFP
Tunisia's emergency medical care doctors (pictured April 6, 2020) dress in personal protective equipment as a measure of protection against the coronvirus, before heading out to treat a COVID-19 patient in the capital Tunis.  By FETHI BELAID (AFP/File)
LISTEN APR 7, 2020
Tunisia's emergency medical care doctors (pictured April 6, 2020) dress in personal protective equipment as a measure of protection against the coronvirus, before heading out to treat a COVID-19 patient in the capital Tunis. By FETHI BELAID (AFP/File)

Tunisia's interior ministry warned Tuesday that people infected with coronavirus could be prosecuted for manslaughter if they contaminate others by disobeying the health ministry's instructions.

"If someone who is sick does not self-isolate as required in line with health ministry instructions, and they contaminate someone else, we will pursue them under the penal code," Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi told reporters.

"If that cross-contamination results in death, they can be prosecuted for manslaughter."

Testing has confirmed some 600 cases of coronavirus in Tunisia, among which there have been 22 fatalities.

Since April 5, three hotels across the country have been equipped to take care of up to 1,500 coronavirus patients outside hospitals, according to authorities.

Around 120 people are currently staying in those hotels.

But some infected people have been reluctant to remain in quarantine.

"We will be strict in applying the law... our responsibility is to protect the people," Mechichi said.

Tunisia imposed a 6.00 pm to 6.00 am curfew from March 18, and imposed daytime movement restrictions on citizens on March 22, in a bid to forestall the spread of the virus.

Hundreds have been arrested for breaking daytime rules and around 1,000 for breaching the nighttime curfew, according to authorities.

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