Fines or jail time for coronavirus fake news, intentionally infecting others and refusing quarantine

20 March 2020 - 10:15
By Unathi Nkanjeni
People who contravene the regulations regarding Covid-19 could face a stint in prison.
Image: iStock People who contravene the regulations regarding Covid-19 could face a stint in prison.

Citizens could face a prison sentence of six months for spreading fake news about coronavirus.

The new Disaster Management Act regulations were introduced by co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Here is what you need to know

Fake news

Dlamini-Zuma said that spreading fake news on the pandemic was a serious criminal offence.

According to the minister, the threat of a prison sentence or fine for spreading fake news about the outbreak will hopefully end the string of false claims about the virus, which have been flooding social media and creating general confusion.

The regulation applies to both the creators of fake Covid-19 news and those who spread the news through social media and other channels.

Lying about being infected

Dlamini-Zuma said any person who intentionally misrepresents that he, she or any other person is infected with Covid-19 will be charged.

On conviction, the person will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both a fine and imprisonment.

Punishment for spreading the virus

The new regulations will also see those who intentionally expose others to the virus punished.

Spreading of Covid-19 intentionally, would result in the person being charged with assault, attempted murder or murder.

The regulations prohibit any person who is infected with Covid-19, or is suspected to be infected, from refusing to be examined, treated, isolated or quarantined.