In a case that has moved readers worldwide and that sparked a judge to comment on the rights of a dying person even during the COVID-19 pandemic, a court has ordered that a terminally ill Nigerian woman living in the UK be allowed to leave the care home where she had been staying, to spend her last days with her extended family. In her decision on the case, UK Judge Nathalie Lieven commented that the woman had ‘something between a few weeks and 3 – 6 months to live’ and that the question was whether she should be able to spend those last days with her family. ‘The ability to die with one’s family and loves ones seem to me to be one of the most fundamental parts of any right to private or family life,’ the judge wrote.
The South African government has introduced new, wide-reaching regulations that will allow it to track the whereabouts of anyone on a national database that is being developed, and that will list people who have come into contact with individuals confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or who have tested positive themselves.
The new regulations, published today, introduce a tracking system unlike anything South Africa has seen before. They will allow the government to know precisely where someone is, and to trace their movements. The regulations take advantage of the fact that so many people in South Africa have mobile phones that they take everywhere with them. Using information obtained from phones, the new system will keep tabs on people and allow the authorities to track the location of anyone and where they have been.
Strict Government COVID-19 regulations have been slightly relaxed to allow bereaved family members to cross provincial boundaries if this is necessary to attend a funeral.
The new regulations, contained in today’s official Government Gazette, are clearly a response to last week’s court decision in which a judge said it was ‘tragic’ not to be able to permit a man, whose grandfather had died in a fire, to travel across provincial borders to attend the funeral and support his family over their time of mourning. In terms of the regulations as they then existed, however, the courts were not empowered to make any exceptions, the judge said at the time.