CORONAVIRUS patients who refuse to self-isolate could face prison if they infect others, an Italian lawyer has claimed.
Italy has been put on lockdown with all stores – except for pharmacies and food outlets – being ordered to close down.
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Citizens have been told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary and need to carry a self-certification form in case police stop them – even if they only go for a walk.
People who provide a false document – declaring they have to go somewhere because of health, work or other necessary reasons when not true – can be arrested immediately and receive a fine.
They could be jailed from one to six years, Il Sole 24 Ore reports.
Those with a fever over 37.5C, cough, cold and other symptoms linked to coronavirus have to self-isolate and let their GP know.
If they don’t do so, they risk being charged for damages and could face from three to seven years in jail.
People who think they might have the virus as well as those who have it and infect others, causing their death, could be charged with ‘attempted murder’, lawyer Franco Coppi told Corriere della Sera.
He added that the charge might change depending on how aware the person is of their sickness.
The lawyer said any citizen should take the measures seriously.
The same rule applies to those who had contacts with coronavirus patients and kept having social relationships, without letting the people they got in touch with know.
It is the same situation that occurs in the case of HIV-positive individuals who have unprotected sex and do not notify the partner or take precautions.
Since the coronavirus outbreak started, Italy has had more than 12,400 cases and 800 deaths.
Popular tourist hotspots – such as Milan, Rome and Venice – now appear desert after several airlines cancelled flights to Italy following the new measures introduced by the Government.
Shops, schools and universities are currently closed – with many adapting to online lessons while the measures, which will be valid until April 3, are in place.