H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued Thursday law No. 9 of 2020 amending some of the provisions of the Decree Law No 17 of 1990 on the prevention of infectious diseases.
Under the law, the provisions of articles 4 of Decree Law No. 17 of 1990 will provide for that burden of reporting stipulated in the previous article falls on every doctor who examines someone who is infected or suspected of having an infectious disease; the infected person and their guardian, the president or representative of the infected person's university, institute or school, infected person's direct manager -if the infection took place or suspected to have taken place during performing work duties-, and on the employer, in case of expatriates, whether the infection took place inside or outside the state; when any of them knows about it.
For those who violate "Home Quarantine" during this COVID-19 outbreak is punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding QAR 200,000, or by either of these two penalties.
When a person is diagnosed with a listed infectious disease or is suspected of having an infectious disease, the nearest medical centre or hospital must be notified immediately, in accordance with the provisions of this law; bylaws and executing resolutions thereof. Also, the medical centre or the hospital shall promptly inform the competent health authority.
The statutory notification referred to in the previous article shall be the duty of every doctor caring for and involved in the examination and investigation of patients diagnosed with an infectious disease, or in those patients in whom such a diagnosis is suspected. This requirement to notify the relevant authorities shall also be the responsibility of the individual’s close family, their landlord, or those with whom they share accommodation, the director of the university, college or school where the infected person may study; or their line manager if they are in employment and it appears that this infection may have been connected to the person’s employment or place of study. The foreign patient’s sponsor shall inform the relevant authorities if it is thought the infection occurred in the state or abroad.
The competent health authority, after receiving notification about an infected individual, or once they are alerted to suspicions that such an infection may have occurred, shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of this disease
The competent health authority may require the isolation or quarantine of the infected individual or individuals suspected of having an infectious disease. This confinement may occur in the hospital or another designated site. The competent health authority may also require close health surveillance of the infected individual, their contacts, or those suspected of being infected by a communicable disease.
The Minister may determine the precautions mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs which must be followed for the diseases of the three sections of the table annexed to this law. The Minister may also determine appropriate measures of health monitoring and the necessary vaccinations to prevent the spread of infection.
The competent health authority may, at any time, isolate the infected person, or those persons suspected of having an infectious disease, and their contacts. This isolation may require their suspension from work duties until the disease is no longer transmissible. Such isolation is mandatory for employees who manufacture, prepare or transport food substances and beverages.
Those individuals who are subject to the stipulations of isolation shall be forbidden from returning to work unless and until permission is granted by the competent health authority. It is the responsibility of the infected person’s manager or employer to implement this suspension, until isolation is no longer deemed necessary by the competent health authority.
It is prohibited to transport the belongings of those infected with a communicable and notifiable disease without first gaining authorisation from the competent health authority. Infected individuals shall themselves also not be transported without this authorization.
The competent health authority shall undertake the necessary diagnostic investigations to clarify the infectious status of those suspected of having an infectious disease, or the contacts of these persons.
Where an infectious disease is diagnosed, the Minister may authorise the competent health authority to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection by means of isolation and quarantine, decontamination measures, vaccination, health surveillance and other measures.
Also, the Minister may prevent any kind of public meetings, may authorise the disposal of contaminated food and beverages, may remove public drinking fountains and taps; close communal wells, markets, schools, public cafes or any other public or private institution which may jeopardise public health
Close consideration will be made by the competent health authority regarding the movement and burial of corpses which may have been infected with the communicable disease.
The Minister may decide to limit the treatment of certain infectious diseases to government medical institutions only, and may forbid their treatment in private health institutions.
Taking into consideration the content of Article 4 of the mentioned law no. 1 of 1985, the animal health section at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, if after doing the necessary tests discovers an infected animal or an animal suspected of having an infectious disease which can be transmitted to humans, shall notify the competent health authority and this authority, in concert with Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, shall take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of disease.
The Minister may issue, after proposals from the competent health authority, the following necessary decisions to help limit the spread of disease:1. The isolation, or close health surveillance, of those arriving from abroad.2. Determine rigorous health requirements that must be met for the entry of goods,articles and imported materials into the country.3. Determine other necessary preventive measures to limit or stop the transmission of infections from human, animal, insect or other sources.
Children should be vaccinated regularly against infectious diseases determined by decision of the Minister. Vaccinations shall be carried out according to the stipulations and schedule determined by the competent health authority.
Children may be vaccinated by a physician licensed to practice this profession, and shall furnish the competent authority with certifying documentation that the required vaccinations have been administered.
The father of the child or the person acting in loco parentis has the duty to present the child for the vaccination.
Pilgrims are subject to vaccination against infectious diseases before leaving the country, in accordance with measures determined by the decision of the competent health authority. These decisions shall be taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by returning pilgrims.
The competent health authority may organise campaigns to vaccinate the population of all or some parts of the state against infectious diseases.Vaccination may be done by a physician licensed to practice this profession, and it is mandatory to provide evidence of the vaccination schedule as prescribed in the Article 15(2) of this law.
The vaccination against any infectious disease may be deferred, if the competent physician deems this necessary, or if there is certification to this effect from a licensed physician. Once the circumstances causing this delay no longer apply, the vaccine shall be immediately administered.
Any person may present to the competent health authority in order to receive a vaccine effective against any infectious disease, and shall be given certification showing they have received this vaccine.
The provisions of articles 21 of Decree Law No. 17 of 1990 will provide for that, without prejudice to any more severe punishment stipulated in any other law:
1. Violating the provisions of Articles (3), (4), (6 bis), (7 / second and third paragraphs), (8), (11), and the procedures and measures taken by the Council of Ministers in accordance with the provisions of Article (10 / last paragraph), is punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding QAR 200,000, or by either of these two penalties.
2. Violating the provisions of Articles (15 / last paragraph), (16) and (17) is punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding one month and by a fine not exceeding QAR 10,000, or by either of these two penalties.
In addition, more articles are added to the Decree Law No. 17 of 1990, including:
Article (6-bis) which stipulates that every person who is placed in isolation or quarantine, with the knowledge of the health authorities, according to the provisions of the previous article, must remain in the place of isolation designated by that authority and abide by the procedures for isolation and control.
Article (10/last paragraph), which stipulates that the Council of Ministers, upon the proposal of the Minister, and with a view to limiting the spread of the infectious disease, may take appropriate public measures to preserve public health, including imposing restrictions on the freedom of persons to gather, move, reside and pass in certain places or times.
The law is effective starting from the next day of its publication in the Official Gazette.
Source: Qatar News Agency, Al Meezan
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