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COVID-19: Police begin issuing fines to curfew violators

06 April 2020, MVT 16:49
Maldives Police Service (MPS) seen enforcing the Health Protection Agency imposed curfew restricting movement across greater Male' region between 1700 to 2000 hrs. PHOTO: MIHAARU
06 April 2020, MVT 16:49

Maldives Police Service (MPS), on Sunday began issuing fines to individuals violating the Health Protection Agency (HPA) imposed curfew, intended as a precautionary measure to control the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

According to police, an individual found in violation of the curfew was issued a fine of MVR 1000 on Sunday. This is the first time the penalty was issued since the curfew came into effect on Thursday last week.

The police said that individuals found to break the curfew will be issued an advice to stay indoors on the first two instances, following which individuals will be issued with the fine.

The individual fined on Sunday was advised twice prior to being fined with MVR 1000, said MPS.

Among those that violated the curfew on Sunday, a total of 139 individuals including 122 locals and 17 foreigners were issued a first-time warning, while 7 individuals were issued a warning for the second time.

The curfew declaration made last Wednesday by HPA's Director-General Maimoona Aboobakuru, restricts movement across the greater Male' region between 1700 to 2000 hrs and prohibits gatherings of more than three persons during non-curfew hours.

Under section 91 of the Public Health Act (7/2012), infected persons or persons suspected of infection are obliged to follow the instructions of relevant authorities. In instances of non-compliance, a case can be filed against violators at the Civil Court, for which a court order can be enforced by the Police.

Furthermore, individuals found in violation of the regulations set forth by HPA under the state of public health emergency can be fined up to a maximum of MVR 1000.

Certain individuals and vehicles, including security forces, law enforcement officials, law enforcement vehicles, employees of hospitals, health care service providers, health service vehicles, employees of pharmacies and their vehicles, WAMCO employees, WAMCO vehicles, government-issued vehicles, diplomatic vehicles, official HPA vehicles, individuals with clearance from the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and uniformed employees of Ooredoo, Dhiraagu, banks, State Trading Organisation (STO), Male' Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC), State Electric Company (STELCO) as well as their vehicles, are all exempt from the aforementioned curfew for formal purposes only.

In addition to the curfew, HPA ordered all retail outlets and stores in Male', Vilimale' and Hulhumale' to remain closed between 2300 and 0600 hrs while cafes and restaurants in the region are instructed to stop providing takeaway services from 0000 to 1600 hrs. HPA also ordered the halt of construction work at sites in the greater Male' region from 1700 hrs to 0600 hrs.

Presently, Maldives records 19 confirmed and six active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 13 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local to local transmissions have been recorded.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1,274,300 people and claimed over 69,480 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 940,00 people have recovered.

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