The Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq announced yesterday that legal measures will be taken against coronavirus patients who withhold information from the medical authorities to avoid treatment or escape quarantine, local media reported.
In a statement the council said that it has decided to take legal measures in accordance with the provisions of Article 368 of the Penal Code against everyone who causes the spread of the coronavirus by spreading false rumours about the illness, mocking its seriousness or encouraging citizens to gather in any form that was prevented by the Diwani order No. 55 of 2020.
Security authorities have been instructed to enforce a complete curfew and arrest all those who violate the orders in cooperation, it added.
Article 368 of the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969 stipulates a penalty of three years imprisonment against anyone who intentionally commits an act that causes the spread of a serious disease that harms people's lives.
On Sunday, Iraqi President Barham Salih and caretaker-Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi submitted a request to Parliament to declare a state of emergency in the country in a bid to tackle the coronavirus.
The latest data from Iraq's Ministry of Health revealed the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the country has reached 111, including ten deaths and 27 patients who have now recovered.
Last week, Baghdad shut down schools and universities for ten days and banned travel to virus-hit states, in addition to a ban on travel between governorates and the closure of public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, shopping malls, parks and mosques.