Police told to be flexible but also arrest in some cases

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

The new COVID-19 preventive regulations have been gazetted to enable the authorities to take action in the event of cases of extreme violations, Head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC) Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said.

The Army Commander told Colombo Gazette that earlier, authorities were questioned and prevented from taking action due to the legality of the regulations, as it was not gazetted.

The new regulations will now enable the Police to legally warn and arrest in the event of an extreme violation, he said.

Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said the regulations have also been gazetted as a provision to enable authorities to take legal action and also as a deterrent and preventive measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The Police have been requested to remain flexible and not arrest every person found to be violating the regulations, but to take action only in the event of extreme violations, he said.

The Head of the NOCPC clarified that the COVID-19 preventive regulations have been implemented to cover the entire country, and not only in high risk coronavirus areas or curfew imposed areas.

The public have been requested to strictly adhere to the rules, despite the flexibility of the Police, in order to support the Government’s efforts to tackle the latest outbreak, he added.

The Ministry of Health issued the gazette notification on new COVID-19 preventive regulations on Thursday (15) after it was signed by Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

The gazette makes it mandatory to wear a face mask at all times in public places and maintain social distancing of not less than one meter between two persons.

Minister Wanniarachchi announced that a fine of not more than Rs. 10,000 and a six- month jail term has been declared for anyone violating the COVID-19 regulations. (Colombo Gazette)