The new Disaster Management Act regulations are threatening people who spread fake news about the coronavirus with a fine or up to six months in prison.
According to the new regulations, which were published in the Government Gazette on Wednesday, anyone who creates or spreads fake news about Covid-19 can be prosecuted.
It therefore applies to both the creators of fake Covid-19 news and those who spread the news through social media and other channels.
Any person who intentionally misrepresents that he, she or any other person is infected with Covid-19 is also guilty of an offence.
On conviction this person is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both a fine and imprisonment.
The new regulations have also introduced severe punishment for people who intentionally expose others to the coronavirus.
Deliberate spreading of Covid-19 would result in the person being charged with either assault, attempted murder or murder.
It further prohibits any person who is infected with Covid-19, or is suspected to be infected, to refuse to be examined, treated or be isolated or quarantined.
Other regulations include a ban on the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages after 22:00 and restricting gatherings to 100 people.
Earlier today the Department of Health reported that the confirmed number of coronavirus cases in South Africa has jumped to 116.
This means that a further 31 cases have been identified, following the overnight announcement that cases reached 85 in the country.
The new cases include people in Gauteng, KZN, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. It also includes six new cases of internal transmission.
“As part of tracking and tracing, we have collated background information on how these patients were infected,” health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said.
“We will provide information to the public, so as to give a sense of how these local transmissions occur.”