South Korea government authorizes prison and hefty fines for breaking quarantines

With 181 confirmed cases of MERS and at 31 deaths due to the virus, the government has passed a new law regarding quarantine and those exposed.

Reports have revealed that on June 25th, the South Korean government has recently passed a new law will give authorities more powers when dealing with an outbreak such as this and place people under quarantine. Under the new law, those who break quarantine or lie about their possible exposure to the infectious disease can be sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined at least 20 million won, or $17,810 U.S dollars.

The new law also notes that health authorities must make certain information public about the outbreak, including names and locations of the infected hospitals. Police officers, firefighters, and other related public servants must also help health authorities enforce quarantine orders.

Since the MERS outbreak, the government has been criticized for not revealing the public which hospital were infected as well as failure to enforce quarantine on suspected infected people with one person reported to have gone golfing and another flying out of the country and into China where he was later confirmed with MERS.

The new law will go into effect in six months.

Source: New York Times