President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. signed Palau’s newly adopted Regulations Governing Isolation & Quarantine of Contagious Diseases last Friday making it a crime to disobey quarantine or isolation orders from the Ministry of Health.

The rules give authority to the Ministry of Health to order isolation and/ or quarantine of a person or animal that may have had exposure to contagious disease.

Ministry of Health under the regulations identify what the infectious diseases, how they are transmitted and define how person or animal maybe considered “exposed” for isolation or quarantine purposes.

The regulation also gives the Minister of Health authority to establish isolation sites or quarantine sites as required.

Minister of Justice under the regulations, will enforce the quarantine regulation by arresting or detaining a person violating the Isolation and Quarantine Regulation.  Violating the regulations is a misdemeanor crime with penalties of up to $500 fine and imprisonment of up to 1 year in jail.

The Regulations were promulgated during an emergency and went into effect immediately and will remain in effect for 120 days or until the notice of termination of the emergency.