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Coronavirus: justice minister says compliance with decrees ‘not something that is optional’

Justice Minister George Savvides

Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides on Tuesday said cabinet approved a bill on doubling the fine for those found disobeying the ban on movement to €300 warning that in serious cases offenders could face jail or fined up to €3,000.

Cabinet ratified the decision for raising the €150 fine to €300 for those found violating the ban on movement, announced by the health minister on Monday. The bill will be tabled to the House to vote in the next plenary session.

The minister explained that raising the on the spot fine was deemed necessary to force “those few who, with their actions, sabotage the conscious efforts of the majority of the public who respect, comply with and implement the health ministry’s decrees.” He said he “applauds” those implementing the measures.

Savvides said the on the spot €300-fine will be issued in most cases, for those found to violate the decrees on movement restrictions.

“Compliance cannot be optional. Coronavirus strikes indiscriminately all ages, any of us can become a carrier of the virus,” he said.

If it is deemed necessary, the law enforcement officers may not issue an on the spot fine and choose to file a case in court instead, which could impose imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine up to €3,000, Savvides said.

This procedure will be followed in more serious cases, he said, recalling that a court in Paphos already fined two men €400 each for breaking the decree banning all unnecessary movement.

“Unfortunately, there are compatriots of ours who disobey,” the minister said.

He added that it must be understood by everyone that the slightest negligence is enough to spread the virus and ruin in the blink of an eye what was built by compliant citizens, health professionals and the government.

“I believe that no one in our country wants situations similar to those unfortunately experienced by other states.”

The minister said that it was necessary for everyone to help health professionals and police in their work. “We show our love for our families and loved ones by staying home. This is the only way to protect those we love. That is the only way we will succeed.”



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