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KZN cops investigating attempted murder charges against tourist over Covid-19 spread

25 March 2020 - 21:42 By Matthew Savides
A foreign tourist could face attempted murder charges for not going into self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.
A foreign tourist could face attempted murder charges for not going into self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.
Image: 123rf.com/betonstudio

A tourist - believed to be a foreign national - could soon face attempted murder charges after he allegedly refused to go into self-quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.

National Saps spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo confirmed on Wednesday night that the tourist - who has not been identified - was being investigated under the regulations imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in announcing a state of disaster.

His is one of two cases being investigated in the province, after police also confirmed that a businessman from Ladysmith was arrested.

Police minister Bheki Cele also confirmed on Wednesday that the two cases were being probed, saying that this was a sign that the country would take any breaking of the regulations - and the subsequent lockdown - seriously.

Naidoo said a case was opened against the tourist "for allegedly failing to conform to instructions to self-quarantine after allegedly testing positive with Covid-19".

"On March 22, the said tourist was on holiday in the Kruger National Park. Whilst there, he was tested positive with Covid-19 and was instructed to remain in his lodge in the park. Instead, the tourist ignored the instruction and proceeded to St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, where he apparently interacted with an unknown number of people," he said.

The man was traced to holiday accommodation and was immediately quarantined at a hospital.

"There is now an extensive drive by the department of health, assisted by members of the Saps, to trace those who the infected tourist came in contact with. This tourist has not yet been charged as he went into quarantine before police could engage him," said Naidoo.

Earlier on Wednesday, police confirmed that a salon owner in Ladysmith was arrested.

"In the second incident, on March 24 at approximately 3.30pm, Ladysmith police officers received information that a man who allegedly tested positive with Covid-19 came in contact with other people in the Ladysmith area. The same man reportedly travelled to various countries and on his return to South Africa on March 18 he was tested for Covid-19. The man was instructed to self-quarantine for at least 14 days pending the blood results," said Naidoo.

"However, he allegedly continued with his business since March 21 and in doing so disregarded the instructions by a doctor - thus allegedly contravening regulations in terms of the National Disaster Management Act pertaining to Covid-19."

The 52-year-old man was arrested and taken to hospital, where he was receiving treatment.

"A list of 27 people who were at his salon and also at a religious gathering are still being sought for testing. The matter was discussed with the senior public prosecutor for the matter to be postponed in absentia to avoid further contamination."