The Uganda Police Force has welcomed the New Public Health Orders and punishments against Ugandans who will violate Covid-19 rules.
Addressing the nation about the situation of Covid-19 in Uganda last week, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said anyone found praying in an open space or inside a church or mosque, not wearing masks, hawking, street vending and selling non-food items was to face a two month jail term.
“Anyone found operating a bar or a movie theatre, attending a seminar, cultural event or indoor sports event could face jail time if convicted. The new law also bars entry of visitors from India, other than Ugandan citizens or residents. Also, anyone who aids in the escape of someone confined in a place designated for isolation or quarantine of COVID-19 can be imprisoned for two months,”she said.
Dr Aceng also noted that the new instruments were to instill responsibility in Ugandan as they fight Covid-19.
Police have since described the declaration of these punishments as a relief since all people who have been arrested were released on grounds that there was no any law that could lead them to jail.
While addressing journalists on Monday, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga noted that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Joint Task Force has played a crucial role in supporting the Ministry of Health regulations, to help control the spread of the pandemic.
He added that with the additional tools of enforcement in form of punishments under the New Public Health Orders, Police officers shall be arresting people moving maskless in public, escapees from isolation or quarantine centres, stealthy opening banned activities, non-essential motor vehicles, hawking and street vending, selling of non-food items, who are all liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months.
“Since the commencement of this second lockdown we have arrested several people violating curfew times and even the SOPs but after we could not file the charges so that we fine them since there was no instrument of authority to condemn them but now given the instruments that was issued by the Ministry of Health, we are relieved and we shall arrest whoever violates them according. The only way to avoid any disruptions and inconveniences is to behave responsibly, limit movements and gatherings as guided.” he said.
Meanwhile, in the course of last week a total of 1425 persons were arrested countrywide for flouting the lockdown and curfew provisions. 825 were cautioned 164 released on police bond, 116 pending court and 320 charged to court; then 786 motor vehicles were impounded, out of which 497 were issued with EPs tickets, 134 motorists were cautioned and their cars released, 155 are still parked/unclaimed; a total of 4314 motorcycles were impounded, out of which 2878 were issued with EPs tickets, 935 riders were cautioned and their motorcycles released, while 501 motorcycles are still parked or unclaimed.
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