April 11, 2020

Government Mulls Prosecuting Four Coronavirus Patients


Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye

Four people who are infected with COVID-19 risk jail for what Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye says may have been deliberately intending to spread the deadly virus.

Without identifying the suspects, Busingye said on State broadcaster RBA that these suspects are being investigated to establish their intention when they opted not to come out to report themselves yet they had been in contact with infected people.

As of Saturday, there were 118 confirmed cases in the country, with 18 recovered. There are no deaths so far. However, for the past week or so, the new infections reported were of Rwandans who had been traced, suspected of having been in contact with people who came from outside.

“At the moment, we have three or four people whom we are investigating to establish if they intentionally did what they did, aware they were infected,” said Busingye.

“No laws were put in place with the expectation that one day when Coronavirus emerges, people would be prosecuted for not declaring themselves. However, we have laws in place prescribed for people who intentionally put lives at risk, that can lead to death, or deliberately spreading an incurable disease.”

Busingye’s comments were issued in the context that government has been pleading with anyone who suspects they may have met someone who has been admitted with the virus, to come forward. Government has set up a team of over 200 people in Kigali, and dozens others in regions, who are tracing all contacts of those infected.

Busingye said: “It is highly advisable to come out if you were a contact person. Better to bring yourself and be found without the virus, than us looking for you and find you infected. You will have committed a crime. However, we wouldn’t want to prosecute anyone for such a case.”

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