The Maldivian government, on Saturday, submitted legislature titled Public Health Emergency Bill 2020 designed to increase fines imposed for violations of orders issued by the Director General of Public Health related to the coronavirus outbreak.
The bill was drafted by the Attorney General’s Office and is designed to accommodate guidelines for dealing with people found in violation of the orders of the Director General of Public Health.
Private citizens found in violation may be punishable with fines within the range of MVR 5,000 – MVR 10,000, depending on the severity of the violation, while legal entities found in violation may be punishable with fines within the range of MVR 10,000 to MVR 100,000 depending on the severity of the violation.
SPECIAL POWERS TO THE POLICE TO ENFORCE ORDERS
The bill also established that the police must be granted special powers to enforce the orders of the Director General of Public Health.
This means that the police, in addition to being authorities to order violators to cease thee action in question, will also be authorized to fine violators on the spot.
The police will also be authorized to disperse gatherings held in violation of the orders, and to arrest those who resist.
The bill is designed remain in effect until 60 days after the state of public health emergency over the coronavirus pandemic is lifted.
Maldives has been in a state of public health emergency since March 11, four days after the country identified its first coronavirus cases – on March 7.
The state of public health emergency grants the Director General of Public Health special powers to issue orders designed to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus.
Violations of such orders are currently punishable with fines of up to MVR 1,000.
While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.
The populous capital has since become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, contributing to over 1,500 of the country’s 1,633 cases.
While coronavirus cases have increased to 1,633, 242 patients have recovered and five have died from complications.