The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have proposed amendments to toughen penalties for those who breach the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).
The DPP version, sponsored by DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), aims to amend Articles 62 and 69 of the act.
The proposed amendments state that people who are aware they are infected with a category one communicable disease (smallpox or a SARS-like disease), a category five disease (SARS, influenza type A, Ebola) or a category two multidrug-resistant disease (tuberculosis) and infect others because they did not comply with instructions from competent authorities would face up to three years in prison, as well as a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$3 million (US$9,900 to US$99,003).
Screen grab from Wang Ting-yu’s Facebook account
People who fail to tell Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agents that they have any of these diseases upon entry into the country would face up to a year in prison, as well as a fine of NT$100,000 to NT$1.5 million.
The KMT proposal, sponsored by KMT Legislator Sufin Siluko, says that people known or suspected to have these diseases who fail to comply with instructions from competent authorities would be handed a fine of NT$30,000 to NT$500,000, regardless of whether they have infected others.
Should noncompliance cause someone’s death, the patient or suspected patient should be sentenced to seven years to life in prison, the KMT draft says.
If noncompliance causes severe injury to others, the perpetrator should be imprisoned for three to 10 years and fined a maximum of NT$1 million, it says.
People who attempt to spread rumors or unverified information regarding category five diseases should be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison and fined a maximum of NT$3 million, it says.
People suspected of being infected with a category five disease who fail to comply with competent authorities regarding examinations, inspections and medication would face fines of NT$200,000 to NT$1 million, while those seeking to avoid, or obstruct, disease prevention efforts should be fined NT$30,000 to NT$500,000, the KMT draft says.
Failure to mitigate conditions or comply with regulations within the given time could see the person fined per repeat offense, the KMT said.
Both proposals have passed a first reading and are being reviewed by the Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.
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