Police charges for patients who defy quarantine rule

People who tested positive to COVID-19 because they defied mandatory 14-day self-quarantine orders will be charged as Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama vows to clamp down on quarantine and curfew breakers.

Among them is former Fiji 7s player Semi Kunatani who tried to evade police, bolted from Sigatoka Hospital before he was seized and returned to the premises where he remains under isolation.

Also expected to face the music is a 54-year-old man of Soasoa in Labasa believed to have infected four people and possibly many others in Suva and in Labasa after failing to observe the 14-day quarantine period upon returning from a religious gathering in India.

Bainimarama also vows to impose a nationwide 24-hour lockdown if fever-testing numbers does not increase and numbers of curfew and quarantine violations does not decrease.

On day five of curfew between 8pm last night and 5am today, police arrested 123 people, the highest since curfew started in Fiji on March 30, prompting further warnings from Bainimarama: “don’t be the next person who doesn’t have a damn good reason to be outside when questioned by our police officers.” 

“If you’re not going to work, buying food, getting money or accessing an essential service, stay at home. Otherwise, we will bring in the military and police to lock down all of Fiji –– it’s that simple. 

“We don’t care who you are, rules are rules. Break them, and you will be found and punished,” Bainimarama said. “It doesn’t matter how famous you are, it doesn’t matter how rich you are, it doesn’t even matter how religious you feel you are, no one has the magic cure to coronavirus, and no one is immune to our laws.

Among those investigated is a mother who shipped off her family to Wakaya Island subsequently defying government orders against inter-island passenger travel.

 “This level of lawlessness is irresponsible, un-Fijian and just plain stupid. We are at war with the most devastating global pandemic in 100 years and any disobedience in our ranks will cost us lives.

“The virus does not travel unless people travel. We have to stop people from touching, hugging, or doing anything that puts them in close contact with each other,” Bainimarama reiterated underlining the need to prevent any exponential growth of case numbers such as that recorded in countries such as Italy, China and the United States of America.

“That is why we locked down Lautoka. That is why we locked down Suva. That is why social gatherings are banned. That is why the nightclubs, gyms and swimming pools are closed. That is why the nationwide curfew came into effect. That is why passenger travel by air and sea has ceased. No one is immune to COVID-19.” 

Authorities are also using drones at the boarders to monitor movements after receiving reports of people trying to get into the Suva lockdown areas by boat.

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