Brazil, like several other countries, has been taking measures to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus.
The recently published Federal Law No 13.979 of 6th February 2020 provides for several measures to deal with the public health emergency resulting from the coronavirus 2019 outbreak.
Under article 3 of such law, the State is authorized to adopt the following measures to face the public health emergency:
(III) Determination of compulsory laboratory tests, vaccination, among other measures; and
(IV) Exceptional and temporary restriction on entering and leaving the country and interstate and intercity movements.
The 4th clause of the same article determines that people must comply with the measures provided by the law, and that failure to comply therewith will result in liability, as provided by law.
Such liability is defined in Inter-ministerial Ordinance No. 5 published on 17th March 2020, which provides agents failing to comply with the measures indicated in article 3 of Federal Law No. 13,979, of 2020, will face civil, administrative and criminal liability.
Further, the Ordinance provides that the following penalties may be imposed on those who fail to comply with the law: infringement of preventive sanitary measure, contemplated by article 268 of the Brazilian Criminal Code, and disobedience, determined by article 330 of the same law.
The infringement of preventive sanitary measure, contemplated by article 268 of the Brazilian Criminal Code, consists in the conduct of violating a determination of the public authority aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of a contagious disease. The penalty applicable to such crime is imprisonment from 1 month to 1 year and payment of a fine.
Article 5 of Federal Law No. 13.979/20 also determines that all people must collaborate with the health authorities by immediately communicating possible contact with infectious agents of COVID-19.
In this regard, article 269 of the Brazilian Criminal Code, provides that it also a crime against the public health to fail to report a disease, consisting in physicians failing to report to the public authority a disease of compulsory notification. The penalty of such crime is imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years and payment of a fine.
Article 131 of the Brazilian Criminal Code also contemplates the crime of danger of contagion of serious illnesses, which consists in practicing, in order to transmit a serious illness to another, an act capable of leading to contagion. The crime is punishable by imprisonment from 1 to 4 years and payment of a fine.
Finally, article 135-A of the Brazilian Criminal Code also contemplates as a crime conditioning emergency medical and hospital care services to a deposit check or any other form of guarantee, as well as the prior completion of administrative forms, as a condition for emergency medical and hospital care. The penalty of such crime is imprisonment from 3 months to 1 year, and a fine.