What measures can the State take to stop the spread of COVID-19? Could the Government or other public entities impose restrictions on me (for example, limit freedom of circulation, restrict my establishment’s opening hours) based on the need to fight the COVID-19?

COVID-19 may justify regulatory measures with a direct impact on the activity of public and/or private entities, including the suspension of activity or closure of services, establishments and sites destined for public and private use, as well as the internment or compulsory provision of healthcare to persons who constitute a danger to public health.

As part of the situation of public calamity in place, by means of Decree 79/2020, of 4 September, the Government has approved the implementation of a number of preventive measures, including, among others:

(i)                  Mandatory home quarantine for a period of 14 consecutive days to any citizen who had direct contact with persons infected with COVID-19;

(ii)                All passengers arriving in Mozambique: (a) have to show evidence of having been tested negative in a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test to COVID-19. The PCR test must have been completed no more than 72 hours prior to their boarding to Mozambique; (b) are subject to 10 consecutive days home quarantine at the arrival; (c) shall be subject to a new PCR test for COVID-19 after the completion of the 10 days home quarantine, being the costs related to the testing to be paid by the relevant individuals (where said individuals are not capable of paying for the PCR test, they shall remain at home and complete a 14 days quarantine);

(iii)               Mandatory isolation for all citizens who have been tested positive for COVID-19: (a) home isolation for all citizens that do not show symptoms that require them to be institutionalized; and (b) institutional isolation or admission at a health institution to all citizens whose symptoms require them to be admitted into such institutions;

(iv)               Special protection of particularly vulnerable citizens, notably: (a) citizens aged 65 or over; (b) persons with underlying chronic health conditions deemed to belong to risk groups; and (c) pregnant women. Those falling under any of these groups shall be released from attending work in person;

(v)                 The use of masks and visors is mandatory in crowded and public spaces, markets, common areas and collective and semi-collective passenger transports (only in cases of physical activity or any proven medical contraindication, will the use of masks be exempted);

(vi)               International agreements for the suppression of visas are now valid, on a reciprocity basis;

(vii)             The countdown of the deadline for the permitted sojourn period in Mozambique for non-resident foreign technicians working on pivotal State projects is suspended, avoiding therefore the establishment of residence for tax purposes;

(viii)           The issuance of ID Cards, driving licenses, DIREs and import clearances for moto vehicles is resumed and those expired may be renewed until 30 September 2020;

(ix)               As a general rule (exceptions further addressed), crossing points are closed;

(x)                 On an exceptional basis, entry visas may be issued for humanitarian reasons and reasons of public interest;

(xi)               Classes are resumed (with some limitations);

 

Am I under a duty to comply with the authorities' guidelines and public health protection measures?

Public health guidelines issued by authorities are not always binding. However, compliance with these guidelines is correlated with the fulfilment of duties of care, which in turn may protect and exonerate your company from claims based on non-contractual civil liability (or other reasons).

Companies should therefore be prepared to identify and respond quickly and appropriately to legislative or regulatory changes, as well as to  analyse instructions or guidelines provided.

Companies should also appropriately register the preventive measures taken spontaneously or in compliance with laws, guidelines or administrative regulations associated with COVID-19.

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

All information contained herein and all opinions expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to substitute recourse to expert legal advice for the resolution of real cases.