A person who is infected with the Coronavirus and causes others to become ill as a result of his failure to adhere to restrictions like to stay in isolation or by even intentionally spreading the virus, is subject to legal prosecution according to Articles 339, 342, and 348 of the UAE Penal Code and can be punished by imprisonment or a fine.
In many countries, there were already cases of people tested positive on COVID-19 who did not adhere to the quarantine and caused the virus to spread in their surroundings for example by touching or spitting on surfaces. This or any similar action that may lead to the death of a person can be considered to intentionally harm others. The UAE regulations clearly addresses this point.
The Federal Penal Code in UAE Penal, precisely article 339 stipulates that :
“Shall be sentenced to detention and to fine, whoever assaults by any means the body safety of others and the assault resulted in his illness or disability to attend to his personal business for a period exceeding twenty days. The penalty shall be detention for a term not exceeding one year and to a fine not in excess of ten thousand Dirham (AED 10,000) if the assault did not reach the degree of seriousness mentioned in the above paragraph.”
“In case the assault is perpetrated on a pregnant woman resulting in abortion, this shall be considered an aggravating circumstance”.
Accordingly, a patient’s failure to treat an illness properly or to intentionally cause infection to others, despite his knowledge of his illness, is punishable according to the previous article.
It is important to note, that violating the instructions and procedures issued by the concerned authorities in the UAE in order to limit the spread of the Coronavirus is considered as a crime according to the laws of the state.
For example, every person coming to the UAE is now obligated to adhere to the duration of the home quarantine in his place of residence for 14 days and to follow the instructions issued by the Health Authority, Municipality, or any other governmental body. A person’s violation of the procedures of the home quarantine, leaving his place of residence and mixing (sitting down) with others is in violation to the provisions of the law and public rules, and exposing the health and safety of the community to a risk. The Public Prosecution has implemented strict laws punishing anyone who violates these instructions.
Furthermore, it is very important to know that “in case of infection results in the death of a person to whom the disease was transmitted from an accused, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and the accused had knowledge of the seriousness of this infection, then he is punished according to Article 342 of the same law which states that:
“(Article 342 – 1). shall be sentenced to detention and/or to fine, whoever caused by his own mistake the death of a person.”
“(Article 342 – 3). The penalty shall be detention for a minimum term of two years but not exceeding five years and a fine if the act caused the death of more than three persons. Should any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph be present, the penalty shall be detention for a minimum term of three years but not exceeding seven and a fine”
We should keep in mind that the symptoms of the virus have become known to everyone, so there is no excuse or reason for claiming ignorance of them, so it is necessary for any person who suspects of being infected with the virus to go for examination, or isolate himself until his or her case (status) is confirmed.