Stiffer penalties coming for breaches of COVID-19 restrictions

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Stiffer penalties coming for breaches of COVID-19 restrictions

Saturday, November 21, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, says stiffer penalties are coming for persons who breach the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

He said that the Office of the Attorney General, and the Ministries of Justice and Local Government and Rural Development, are collaborating to implement the new measures, which he said, will be in place before the end of the year.

“We expect that we will see decisions on that soon. What it will do is enforce the health and safety measures so that we ensure that persons, who breach the laws, can be held accountable,” the minister said following a COVID-19 Youth Forum on Thursday.

He said employing punitive measures is not the “desired approach” that the Government wants to take, but is necessary, in order to enforce the rules aimed at controlling the spread of the virus and protecting the health and welfare of Jamaicans.

Meanwhile, the minister is imploring persons not to attend illegal parties during the upcoming festive season.

“What we want to avoid is to have a Christmas that is so merry, that we have a New Year that is dire because of outbreaks and hospitalisations. We want to find ways to give thanks for the year, enjoy family and very close friends, and at the same time observe the protocols; that is very important,” Tufton said.

Under the Disaster Risk Management Act, persons who refuse to follow the established orders and protocols, including curfews and stay-at-home orders, can be fined up to $1 million or six months imprisonment.

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