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Two people face attempted murder charges for defying quarantine in South Africa

Two people are facing attempted murder charges after allegedly refusing to go into quarantine in South Africa, it has emerged. 

One of them is a tourist who tested positive for coronavirus while staying in the Kruger National Park but is accused of ignoring orders to self-isolate in his lodge, South African media says. 

The other is a salon owner in the city of Ladysmith, who was arrested after 27 people came into contact with him at his workplace and a religious gathering he attended after allegedly refusing to go into quarantine.  

South Africa’s 57million people are today beginning a nationwide lockdown as the number of cases hit 709, becoming the worst outbreak in Africa. 

According to TimesLive, the infected tourist is accused of leaving Kruger National Park despite being ordered to remain in his lodge.

Police minister Bheki Cele said the man was tracked down to holiday accommodation and then taken into quarantine in hospital. 

‘The tourist ignored the instruction and proceeded to St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, where he apparently interacted with an unknown number of people,’ he said. 

Health officials are now desperately trying to trace anyone who might have come into contact with him.

Police are investigating the man under emergency regulations announced by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.  

The second suspect, a 52-year-old salon owner, was ordered to quarantine himself after returning from ‘various’ other countries, according to The South African. 

‘On his return on March 18, he was tested positive with Covid-19 and was instructed to self-quarantine for at least 14 days pending the blood results,’ a police spokesman said.

‘However, he allegedly continued with his business and in doing so disregarded the instructions by a doctor.’

Authorities are seeking 27 people who may have come into contact with him, either at his salon or at a religious service he attended. 

Both suspects are facing charges of attempted murder, South African news outlets reported yesterday. 

South Africa currently has 709 confirmed coronavirus cases, with no reported deaths. 

The country’s health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that infections are expected to keep rising.

President Ramaphosa himself has tested negative after taking the test as a precautionary measure, his office said today.   

The president underwent the test on Tuesday on the advice of physicians and received his results on Wednesday night, a statement said. 

Ramaphosa has ordered some of the toughest measures on the continent, including a 21-day lockdown which starts today.

He has also deployed the army to support the police.

Businesses are bracing for the lockdown, with Airlink becoming the latest local airline to suspend flights from midnight on Thursday. 

State power utility Eskom has applied for its critical staff to be exempt from the stay at home order so electricity supplies can continue uninterrupted. 

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