Fiji Parliament passes bill to penalise COVID19 protocol breachers

Fiji’s Parliament unanimously passed a bill today effectively amending the Public Health Act 1935 to allow the Minister for Health and his Permanent Secretary to penalise people for COVID-19 protocol infringements.

Presented by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the legislation amends the original act by way of inserting a new division 5 to part 7 that empowers the minister for health and the permanent secretary for health to issue infringement notices and the payment of fixed penalties for COVID-19 protocol offences as well as penalties for late payment of fees and subsequently shut down re-offending businesses.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the amendments are necessary to act as a deterrent “because [people] need to adhere to it because this is the new norm.”

“We need to be able to conduct our day to day life, we need to be able to conduct our business, but at the same time we have to ensure that members of the public members of the private sector actually adhere to the health protocols and measures that have actually been put in place by the Ministry of Health. So this particular amendment is necessary, because currently the Minister for Health, the Permanent Secretary for Health, does not have the powers through this particular act, to be able to give fines, and this is what we’ll do we’ll empower them to do that,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Offences stipulated under the legislation that will warrant penalties and/or fines “may include the failure to wear an appropriate face covering or present the careFIJI mobile application on entering business premises, or the failure to comply with mandatory curfews, physical distancing requirements and capacity restrictions for gatherings, events, public service vehicles and businesses.”

The new legislation also empowers the MOH to penalise businesses for their customers’ non adherence.

“We need to highlight to them that things like wearing a mask when you’re interacting with lots of people in crowded places like having a CAREFiji App on is a must.”

Foodie Night 1327x198 ad(1)
Top Stories