$6,000 fine, jail time for lying about sickness, resisting quarantine
Photo: Healthcare workers demonstrate an isolation pod operated by the Global Medical Response of Trinidad and Tobago (GMRTT), at a media briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 4, 2020. Photo by Alina Doodnath.
Anyone found lying to quarantine officials or resisting quarantine officials in the act of exercising their duties can be subjected to a $6,000 fine or up to six months jail time.
During a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19), on March 5, 2020, Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram said the Quarantine Act provides the ‘teeth’ to allow officials to prevent people from breaching quarantine if they are found to be symptomatic (showing symptoms of the disease).
“The quarantine that we speak of is based on the Quarantine Act. There was a proclamation by the President…that added the coronavirus to the Act.”
“Before you go into quarantine it indicates the Quarantine Act and the penalties therein if you are to breach."
“If the need arises, the Minister of National Security has assured the Ministry of Health that the necessary steps through the Defence Force or the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service will be taken to have persons stationed outside of their home and guarded 24 hours a day to ensure that they stay there.”
“We can actually take you out of your home to a hospital, isolation, under the Quarantine Act if need be, as another tier of isolation.”
He said however that situation has not yet arisen and everyone has willingly complied with the quarantine.
Parasram said since the beginning of the restrictions, 20 people have been placed under quarantine, with eight people still under quarantine up to Wednesday morning.
According to a Ministry update on Thursday, to date, 26 samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing - all tested negative for the virus.
Parasram said 10 people were turned away from entering the country, based on the travel restrictions currently in place barring travellers from China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Singapore.
Under the current restrictions, any Trinidad and Tobago national who arrives from a country included in the ban will be subjected to home quarantine for 14 days. Non-nationals will not be allowed to enter the country.
In January 2020 the Quarantine [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Disease] Order, 2020 was issued by Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram, adding the virus to the list.
Here are three things to know under the Quarantine Act:
1. Lying to quarantine officials
Under Section 7 (1) (a) of the Quarantine Act, anyone who “refuses to answer or knowingly gives an untrue answer to any inquiry made under the authority of this Act, or intentionally withholds any information reasonably required of him by an officer or other person acting under the authority of this Act, or knowingly furnishes to any such officer or other person any information which is false” is liable on conviction to a fine of $6,000 and to imprisonment for six months.
2. Breaching quarantine
Likewise, breaching a direct quarantine order can result in possible penalties.
Under Section 7(1)(b) of the of the Act, anyone who “refuses or wilfully omits to do any act which he is required to do by this Act, or refuses or wilfully omits to carry out any lawful order, instruction or condition made, given or imposed by any officer or other person acting under the authority of this Act” is liable on conviction to a fine of $6,000 and to imprisonment for six months.
3. Resisting/bribing quarantine officials
Under Section 7(1)(c) of the act, anyone who “assaults, resists, wilfully obstructs or intimidates any officer or other person acting under the authority of this Act, or offers or gives a bribe to any officer or person in connection with his powers or duties under this Act, or being such officer or person, demands, solicits or takes a bribe in connection with his powers or duties under this Act, or otherwise obstructs the execution of this Act” is liable on conviction to a fine of $6,000 and to imprisonment for six months.
For more information on the Quarantine Act see here: https://bit.ly/2IsmeXX