KZN man infected with Covid-19 'knowingly and willingly' spread potentially fatal disease, police say

The man, after testing positive for Covid-19, allegedly continued with his business since March 21, police say.
The man, after testing positive for Covid-19, allegedly continued with his business since March 21, police say.
Image: Suhaib Salem

A Ladysmith salon owner who tested positive for coronavirus has been charged with attempted murder for continuing to work at his business and disregarding an instruction to self-quarantine.

National police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said a list of 27 people who were at the salon and a religious gathering are being sought for testing after coming into contact with the 52-year-old man.

"On March 24 at approximately 15:30 [3.30pm], Ladysmith police officers received information that a man who allegedly tested positive with coronavirus came in contact with other people in the Ladysmith area," Naidoo said.

"The same man travelled to various countries [before returning] to South Africa. On his return on March 18 he tested positive with the Covid-19 and was instructed to self-quarantine for at least 14 days pending the blood results.

"However, the man allegedly continued with his business since March 21 and in doing so disregarded the instructions by a doctor, thus allegedly contravening regulations in terms of the National Disaster Act pertaining to Covid-19 virus."

The man was arrested.

"He was removed to a hospital where he is currently being treated," Naidoo said.

"The matter was discussed with the senior public prosecutor for the matter to be postponed in absentia to avoid further contamination."

The man is under police guard and being quarantined in hospital.

"We have registered that case as attempted murder. It can change at a later stage in terms of the regulations," Naidoo continued.

"We looked at whether the element of the crime has been satisfied, and yes, he tested positive. This is a potential fatal disease.

"He knowingly and willing spread the disease. That is enough to satisfy the element of crime. That is why we have opened that case and charged him with attempted murder."

Naidoo said police had an idea as to where the man might have been before going back to his business but verification was still being done.

"To people who do not want to quarantine, this is what is going to happen to them.

"They will face the full brunt of the law. They cannot go around compromising the safety of others. We can't allow that."

Naidoo said police are busy helping the KwaZulu-Natal health department in tracing those who were in contact with the man.

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