Close to 200 fined for S.O.E. violations

A total of 193 people including companies have been fined for breaching state of emergency orders since March last year, the National Emergency Operation Centre has confirmed. 

A majority of those fines are for violating quarantine requirements issued by the Director General of the Ministry of Health and for gathering in public places. 

Three companies or organisations have also been penalised, pursuant to section 15 of S.O.E. orders, attracting a fine of $5,000 tala and $7,000 for continuous offending. 

Figures from police last year confirmed that 294 people were arrested for breaching the S.O.E. orders with the majority of them being warned and later released. 

Interim Chairperson of N.E.O.C. Agafili Shem Leo, who declined to reveal the companies involved, said penalties were for not complying with medical clearances as advised by the health authorities. 

Agafili reiterated that the Committee and Police will continue to fine those who don’t adhere to the orders. 

 “There are still people who continue to gather in numbers at the airport and wharf,” said the Interim Chairman. 

“Under our orders, it is prohibited to gather at the ports and if you are dropping off [relatives] you drop off and leave airport…do not sit around like we used to before [Covid-19] and this is for the safety and protection of everyone.” 

A private airline was recently fined $6,000 tala for bringing in a pilot from Vanuatu without proper authorisation from the N.E.O.C. 

Also, a shipping agency was fined for not following health requirements.  

The Interim Chairman also appealed to village councils and women’s committees to inform the N.E.O.C. of people who are swimming on Sundays. 

He said the restriction on Sunday is still observed and should be followed by everyone.  

Owners of quarantine facilities are also advised to comply to terms and conditions discussed. 

Agafili said the operators and staff cannot leave and enter quarantine sites as they like and doing so are breaching S.O.E. orders. 

He appealed to everyone to play their part and work together with the N.E.O.C. so the country can be protected from the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old male who has tested positive to Covid-19 remains in an isolation unit at the national hospital at Moto’otua. 

The male came in on a repatriation flight with 160 others, all have been in quarantine for 21 days expiring Friday this week. 

The Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said the passengers will be tested on Thursday night and a decision on their release from quarantine will be made thereafter. 

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