Suspected coronavirus patients could face detainment under South Australian laws

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Experts of people’s hospital of Zigui county, Yichang, Hubei province, hold a teleconsultation to discuss the situation of a suspected case of novel coronavirus pneumonia in a health center of Lianghekou town, Zigui, Feb.7, 2020. (Photo by Wang Jiaman/People’s Daily Online)
Experts of people’s hospital of Zigui county, Yichang, Hubei province, hold a teleconsultation to discuss the situation of a suspected case of novel coronavirus pneumonia in a health center of Lianghekou town, Zigui, Feb.7, 2020. (Photo by Wang Jiaman/People’s Daily Online)

South Australians diagnosed with coronavirus could be detained for failing to comply with mandatory quarantine under new laws.

The South Australia (SA) government on Monday night announced a raft of changes to public health laws to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state’s chief public health officer (CPHO) will be able to verbally order the detention of a person if they are considered to be at risk of spreading a disease such as COVID-19, according to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation report.The new laws would make it easier for police to be called in to enforce detainment and quarantines, as well as security firms or court orders.”There is no need to be alarmed. Part of strengthening our state’s protection is to make sure that our public health experts have the powers they need to protect South Australians,” Premier Steven Marshall told reporters. “We know people are anxious, and I assure the people of South Australia that you are unquestionably our priority.”

There have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia with one other suspected patient awaiting tests.A 78-year-old man from Western Australia who spent time on the Diamond Princess cruise ship on Sunday became the first Australian to die from contracting coronavirus. Stephen Wade, the SA health minister, said that the law changes could be critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. “While we hope for the best, we need to plan for the worst,” he said.”The key to being prepared is to ensure that our public health experts have the tools they need to be nimble and proactive in controlling any possible outbreak scenario.”

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