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The Public Health (Control Of COVID-19) Rules, 2020

Statutory Instrument No.52 Of 2020

The rules place a responsibility upon every owner, person in charge of, or occupier of premised, and every employer and head of a household, who becomes aware that any person who is residing on his or her premises, employee is suffering from COVID-19 to immediately notify a medical officer or take that person to a medical officer for treatment. The same responsibility is placed upon a local authority who becomes aware or reasonably suspects that any person residing in that area is suffering from the virus.

The medical officer who attends to or visits a patient and ascertains that the patient is sick has a duty to refer the patient to the nearest regional referral hospital and upon death of any patient from the virus, the medical officer has a duty to immediately inform the head of the household or the occupier of the premises, or any person who has been in attendance of the deceased and precaution must be taken to prevent its transmission to other persons.

The rules also give power of control of COVID-19 to the medical officer to immediately visit and inspect the premises where a person who has been referred to a hospital resides. The medical officer may order all persons who have been in contact with the person to remain on the premises where the person was at the time of infection or cause those persons to be moved to a regional referral hospital.

The medical officer also has the power to search or a health inspector acting on written orders of a medical practitioner may enter any premises to search for any case of COVID-19 and where any health personnel discovers any cases, he or she shall report the discovery to a medical officer.

The rules also give the medical officer the power to disinfect premises and dispose of bodies of all persons who die from COVID-19. The rules also provide for the control of public gatherings, schools and institutions of higher learning until 18th April 2020, bars and cinemas until 16th April 2020, prayers in churches, mosques and open air until 16th April 2020, marriage ceremonies, weddings, vigils until 18th April 2020 except where people gathered are not more than 10.  Public meetings which include political rallies, conferences, indoor and outdoor concerts, sports events until 16th April 2020, trading in live animals at places until 18th April 2020 and any person who contravenes the above is liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months.

The rules also go ahead to prohibit spitting in public places and places a duty upon medical officers to notify the police immediately upon escape of any person under quarantine and any person who aids another to escape is liable to imprisonment for up to 2 months.

Lastly, the rules address the issue of carriers that is; persons believed or suspected on reasonable grounds by a medical officer to be a carrier of the virus to provide on request by a medical officer samples or any other material required for examination and the material be disposed of accordingly. In addition to this any infected area may by notice in the gazette and in a newspaper with a wide circulation and declare that place to be infected and all persons living in such an area shall undergo such medical inspection or examination and a medical officer may keep all or any persons in such an area under surveillance for a period not exceeding 28 days.