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May 27, 2020

Any threat to the public’s health is a crime

With the approval from the National-level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of the Coronavirus Disease, ministries concerned have released instructions and directives to overcome the Coronavirus crisis, and people are obliged to understand the prohibitions and to follow the official advice.
Those who violate the restrictions imposed by the health authorities under the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law can face six month jail terms, fines of K50,000, or both.
If a communicable disease is detected among public and private health workers after they contact an infected person, they must immediately inform the authorities.
This is particularly true about those who returned from foreign countries, who have been advised to quarantine themselves or visit medical centers to be treated if they have become ill. Those returnees who continue their presence and activities in society can be punished.
Those who do not carry out the measures to stem the spread of the pandemic will be punished according to the law.
Meanwhile, another threat to public health in this time of crisis is fake news. Those who spread fake news intentionally to cause panic can be jailed for one year or fined, or both. Any threat to public health is classified as a “crime”.
The fight against coronavirus stands or falls on whether authentic information can be provided to citizens. However, social media now threatens to throw a monkey wrench into the works.
In this time of crisis, it is important for people to rely on trusted sources of information. We must also question social media platforms about their claims to self-regulate.
Fake news and rumors can cause more damage preying upon social anxieties, stoking panic, spreading quackery and putting lives at danger. Platforms must urgently take corrective actions, or be made to do so.
The world has faced infectious diseases before and we have come through it, just as we will get through this. It is best to be vigilant and cautious, but not to panic. “Be Calm and Wash Your Hands.” Get your facts from trusted news sources.
The following are the recommended steps that can help avoid the spread of any respiratory illness, including COVID-19. The steps are:
Avoid close contact with sick people.
•While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
•Stay home if sick.
•Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, as germs spread this way.
•Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
•Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub which is composed of at least 60 percent alcohol.

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