Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Coronavirus: UAE arrests 64 for breaking self-quarantine

They were told to undergo home-quarantine for 14 days after coming into contact with someone who tested positive

Lifeguards patrol an empty Jumeirah Beach in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Lifeguards patrol an empty Jumeirah Beach in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Dozens of people have been arrested for breaking mandatory self-quarantine in the UAE.

The Ministry of Interior said 64 people had been referred to federal prosecutors to face legal action after they ignored orders to stay at home.

The ministry said the people had specifically been told by authorities to isolate themselves for 14 days because they had come into contact with coronavirus patients.

They will be charged with breaching provisions of the federal law on fighting communicable diseases, and for failing to adhere to precautions put in place by the government to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Last week, the UAE Attorney General, Dr Hamad Al Shamsi, warned the public against non-compliance with the precautionary measures put in place by authorities.

Dr Al Shamsi said breaking the mandatory self-isolation, put in place for recent travellers, is a punishable crime and puts others at risk.

The UAE's law on contagious diseases criminalises any “intentional behaviour that results in spreading an infection”.

The penalty for this is up to five years in prison, a fine of between Dh50,000 and Dh100,000, or both.

The law also makes it obligatory for members of the public to report any suspected cases or deaths resulting from a communicable disease at the risk of three years in jail, a fine of no more than Dh10,000, or both.

The UAE has introduced measures to protect the public from contracting the virus.

They include the closure of malls, cinemas and schools, and a bann on public gatherings and activities.

Citizens and residents have been told they must stay home except in cases of absolute necessity.

This week, Dubai Police arrested two people found to be mocking and ignoring public health advice on social media.

Two Europeans posted stories on Instagram where they mocked the measures and encouraged others to defy them.

Updated: March 26, 2020 11:40 AM

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