Errant virus spreaders, beware

  • China
  • Thursday, 13 Feb 2020

Timely reminder: A woman walking her dog past a banner in Beijing that reads ‘Strengthen self-protection, do not panic, believe in science, do not spread rumours’. — Reuters

Beijing: People intentionally spreading Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) or harming medical workers during the epidemic will be held criminally liable and severely punished in line with a new judicial guideline.

The guideline stipulates that people confirmed to be carrying the virus could be charged with endangering public security by dangerous methods if they refuse to be quarantined or leave before their quarantine time is up and enter public places or take public transport.

If those suspected of carrying the infection exhibit such behaviour leading to the spread of the virus, they could also face similar charges, according to the guideline jointly issued on Monday by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice.

Under the Chinese Criminal Law, those convicted will face jail terms ranging from three to 10 years if the consequence is not serious.

If their behaviour causes serious injury or death or results in great economic loss of public property, those convicted will face more

than 10 years imprisonment, a life sentence or even death.

The guideline, which focuses on 10 offences related to interference with prevention and control efforts, including the deliberate spread of the virus, harm to medical workers and sales of counterfeit goods, “aims to help judicial authorities fight the crimes by accurately applying laws,” said Yang Wanming, vice-

president of the SPC.

“Judicial departments at each level should make people’s lives and health top priorities, and offer strong legal protection to help win the battle against the disease.”

In the wake of recent cases in which doctors were harmed by patients or their relatives, the guideline also clarified that during the epidemic period, people tearing medical workers’ protective gear or spitting at them and causing them to become infected would be charged with intentional injury.

In addition, those who hindered measures taken by government officials to control the outbreak by means of threats or violence could also be charged with disturbing public service, it said.

It added that those who attacked police officers on duty would face harsher punishment for the same charge.

“Every individual must receive medical tests and undergo sample collection or quarantine from medical institutes or prevention and control authorities under the law on the prevention and control of infectious disease, and dispense the truth based on facts,” said legislator Yuan Jie. — China Daily/ANN

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coronavirus , outbreak , Wuhan , pneumonia , Covid-19


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