High Court scuppers Mkhize’s plans for pre-emptive state quarantine

High Court scuppers Mkhize’s plans for pre-emptive state quarantine

High Court scuppers Mkhize’s plans for pre-emptive state quarantine
JUNE 3RD, 2020 A FOCUS, MEDICO-LEGAL

This week Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize again raised the possibility of compulsory state quarantine as a pre-emptive measure for those potentially at risk, in order to “really move ahead of the infection curve” in the Western Cape, writes MedicalBrief. Just a day later, any such strategy was handed a likely death blow when Afriforum won a High Court challenge against enforced state quarantine for those able to self-isolate.

A fortnight ago, speaking in the Eastern Cape, he said that everyone testing positive to COVID-19, even if they were asymptomatic, would be isolated. But is a strategy that has been opposed by the SA Medical Association and seems certain to be legally tested by civil society groups and challenged in the Pretoria High Court by Afriforum. The court ruled that those who are able to self-isolate at home should be allowed to do so. Only if they broke quarantine could the Health department make enforce state quarantine.

Dr Joe Phaahla, the deputy-minister of Health, said on eNCA, commenting on the judgment, that it had been unnecessary for Afriforum to go to court. “Government policy allows for those who are able to self-quarantine to do so,” he said. If, however, they lacked the facilities to do so, they would be moved into state facilities.

The Times reports that Mkhize was speaking during a tour of the Western Cape to check preparedness in South Africa’s COVID-19 epicentre. It quotes Mkhize as saying that with one in nine of those tested in the Western Cape being positive for COVID-19, the province could soon quarantine those who live in high-risk areas and are at risk of complications. This would includes the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Read more:

https://www.medicalbrief.co.za/archives/mkhize-moots-pre-emptive-compulsory-state-quarantine-for-western-cape/