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Tunisian interior ministry warns that coronavirus lockdown violators could face manslaughter charges

Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi warned lockdown violators of severe penalties [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 April, 2020

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The Tunisian interior minister has warned that people violating movement restrictions imposed due to coronavirus could be charged with manslaughter if they infect others.

Tunisia's interior ministry warned on Tuesday that people infected with coronavirus could be prosecuted for manslaughter if they contaminate others by disobeying the health ministry's instructions.

"If someone who is sick does not self-isolate as required in line with health ministry instructions, and they contaminate someone else, we will pursue them under the penal code," Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi told reporters.

"If that cross-contamination results in death, they can be prosecuted for manslaughter."

Testing has confirmed some 600 cases of coronavirus in Tunisia, among which there have been 22 fatalities.

Read more: Robocop - Tunisia deploys police robots to enforce coronavirus lockdown

Since April 5, three hotels across the country have been equipped to take care of up to 1,500 coronavirus patients outside hospitals, according to authorities.

Around 120 people are currently staying in those hotels.

But some infected people have been reluctant to remain in quarantine and there have been protests against curfew orders.

"We will be strict in applying the law... our responsibility is to protect the people," Mechichi said.

Tunisia imposed a 6.00 pm to 6.00 am curfew from March 18, and imposed daytime movement restrictions on citizens on March 22, in a bid to forestall the spread of the virus.

Hundreds have been arrested for breaking daytime rules and around 1,000 for breaching the nighttime curfew, according to authorities.


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