Spreading fake news about Covid-19 could land you in jail for six months or result in a fine.
This is according to the recently gazetted regulations aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.
The minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, hasgazetted the regulations after the government declared a national stated of disaster amid the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
According to the regulations, people could be imprisoned six months or fined for spreading fake news about the Covid-19.
The regulations will outline rules that need to be adhered to by the general public.
The regulations pertaining to the coronavirus deal, among other things, with the release of resources and the prevention and prohibition of gatherings.
They also deal with the release of resources such as human resources, stores, equipment, ships, aircraft platforms, vehicles and facilities when available.
“[This is to ensure] the delivery of essential services, as may be required, to prevent, limit, contain, combat and manage the spread of the virus,” the regulations state.
Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited and prevented in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, the regulations state.
According to the regulations, people suspected of having contracted the virus, or who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, may not refuse consent for a medical examination, prophylaxis, treatment, isolation and quarantine.
The minister of public works and infrastructure is expected to identify and make available sites to be used as isolation and quarantine facilities as the need arises.
The regulations reiterate that schools and partial care facilities have to be closed by 18 March until 15 April, after which the period may be extended for the duration of the national state of disaster.
The regulations also include the suspension of all visits by members of the public to correctional centres, remand detention facilities, holding cells, military detention facilities, and department of social development facilities, including child and youth care centres, shelters, one-stop centres, and treatment centres.
These visits are suspended for a period of 30 days from the date of publication of the regulations, which period may be extended up to the duration of the national state of disaster.
The regulations set a limit on the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages.
“All registered or licensed on-consumption liquor premises which can accommodate, including taverns, restaurants and clubs, must be closed with immediate effect, or must be limited to accommodate no more than 50 persons: Provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure of persons with the Covid-19 virus are adhered to,” the regulations state.
Regarding emergency procurement procedures, the minister says these should be subject to the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday morning met with religious leaders to reinforce the national response to the coronavirus outbreak.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)