Fiji police make 193 virus lockdown violation arrests, blast ‘selfish group’

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Fiji checkpoint
Fiji police checkpoint ... they will remain throughout today. Image: FBC

By Ritika Pratap in Suva

Fiji police have arrested 193 people in the last 24 hours for violations of the country’s coronavirus lockdown and the Police Commissioner, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, says they are classic examples of the “selfish group”.

Of the 193 arrests, 139 people were arrested for social gathering breaches, 53 arrested for curfew breaches and one individual was arrested for breach of lockdown restrictions.

The Western Division recorded 58 social gathering breaches as people were still found gathering in numbers for kava or drinking sessions.

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Similarly the Eastern Division recorded 30 social gathering breaches mostly in rural areas, 27 in the South which included arrests on Vanuabalavu, 18 in the Central Division and six in the North.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said these people were risking the lives of their families and loved ones by leaving their homes, breaching curfew hours and choosing to mingle with potential Covid-19 carriers over yaqona (kava) and drinking sessions.

He says these individuals did not realise that a few hours of fun could result in days and weeks of suffering for their loved ones when they took the virus back into their homes.

Assembly reminder
Fijians are reminded that any “assembly of individuals” as defined in the Public Health Act is considered a gathering.

Therefore, if Fijians intend to invite even one or two people over to their home or plan to meet others for a social gathering then they are breaching the COVID-19 restrictions, the Commissioner said.

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) is assisting the police force with the arrests over Covid-19 restriction breaches.

The Commissioner said the roadblocks would remain throughout today and officers would strictly monitor movement throughout Fiji.

Ritika Pratap is deputy news manager of FBC News.

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