New High Court order on South Africa’s self-quarantine rules

The North Gauteng High Court has ordered that South Africans who test positive for Covid-19 cannot be forced to quarantine at a state facility if they can self-isolate at home.

The order follows an urgent application from civil society group Afriforum, which argued that the regulations were ‘unconstitutional, illegal and irrational’.

Afriforum argued that these regulations would have given the state the power to force people into quarantine without their permission – even under circumstances where the person may be able to effectively self-isolate.

It would consequently have given law enforcers and the state too much power under the guise of combating the spread of the virus, Afriforum said.

The ruling was made an order of court by consent of the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Afriforum said.

Government has previously said that it would only enforce state quarantine in cases where a person cannot self-isolate.

“A person who has been confirmed, as a clinical case or as a laboratory-confirmed case as having Contracted Covid-19, or who is suspected of having contracted Covid-19, or has been in contact with a person who is a carrier of Covid-19: is only required to be quarantined or isolated at a state facility, or other designated quarantine site: when that person is unable to self-quarantine of self-isolate or refuses to do so, or violates the self-quarantine or self-isolation rules.

“To successfully self-quarantine or self-isolate, a person requires access to a separate room where the person should self-isolate (no-one else must sleep or spend time in the room).

“The room must also be able to contact and/or return to a health facility if their condition worsens,” the order states.

Read: Cape Town will now focus coronavirus testing on people over 55

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New High Court order on South Africa’s self-quarantine rules