Malta is set to criminalise the wilful spreading of the COVID-19 coronavirus with jail time of up to nine years, Lovin Malta is informed.
Sources close to the Justice Ministry said that Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis will soon publish a legal notice which will amend 244A(2) of the Criminal Code, which regulates the criminal transmission of diseases, to add COVID-19 to the list of transmissible diseases.
As per the law, people who know they have been infected with COVID-19 and who knowingly transmit the disease to non-infected people will be liable to imprisonment for a term between four to nine years.
If the person they infect dies as a result of the diseases, the spreader will be charged with wilful homicide.
Meanwhile, if a COVID-19 patient spreads the disease through imprudence or carelessness, they will be liable to imprisonment of up to six months or a fine up to €2,329.37, with magistrates given discretion to hand out penalties according to the case.
These new punishments will impact COVID-19 patients who leave their home when they are supposed to be in isolation and end up infecting someone, and are expected to act as a further deterrent against such abuse, over and above a €10,000 fine in place for COVID-19 patients caught leaving their homes.
Criminal lawyer and former PN MP Franco Debono had proposed such an amendment to the law a few weeks ago. Opposition MP Claudio Grech had also urged the government to take Debono’s proposal on board.
Photo: Malta Police Force