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ARGENTINA | 18-03-2020 20:15

Phoneline for quarantine violations receives 1,500 reports on first day

#134 phoneline set up by Security Ministry flooded with calls from concern citizens, as coronavirus panic sets in.

A phone line set up by the national Security Ministry to receive calls reporting potential quarantine violations received more than 1,500 calls on its first day of operation.

The 134 number is free to call and has been set up to ensure citizens comply with provisions put in place by the Alberto Fernández government to halt the spread the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Complaints received by the 134 line are cross-checked with data from the National Migration Office and the national Health Ministry, in order to determine whether they are credible.

Credibility depends on whether the supposed violator has returned from one of the high risk areas – Europe, China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, and the United States (Brazil and Chile were added to the list earlier this week). In the event that a report is verified and it is understood that the person must be in quarantine, a police patrol car is sent to their home to investigate. If the person is not present at the time of police arrival, authorities will wait or search for them and oblige them to comply with the restrictions put in place by the president.

The debut of the phone line created a new record, to which can be added the complaints that the courts have been receiving since the presidential decree went into effect last Friday. According to data provided by the Judiciary, an average of 50 quarantine violation complaints have been filed each day since.

If a violation of quarantine is confirmed, the authorities are notified, and if the person refuses to comply with protocol, they can be taken into police custody. After which, once the mandated quarantine period is over, the individual may be charged with violation of Articles 202, 203 and 205 of the Penal Code.

Article 205 of the Penal Code establishes that “one who violates authoritative measures to prevent the introduction or spread of an epidemic may be charged with six months to two years of imprisonment.”Article 202 lays out penalties of three to fifteen years for those who “spread a dangerous and contagious disease” and Article 203 establishes fines for “recklessness, negligence, or non-observance of duties in charge.”

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Cecilia Devanna

Cecilia Devanna

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