2 Apr 2020

Numbers of arrests for breaches of Fiji's Covid-19 curfew top 160

2:45 pm on 2 April 2020

More than 160 arrests have been made in Fiji as a nationwide curfew installed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, enters its third day.

Police say 48 people were taken into custody overnight for breaching the curfew hours from 10pm-5am.

Minister for National Security, Inia Seruiratu, said despite repeated warnings and advisories people were not adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions.

 Inia Seruiratu.

Minister Inia Seruiratu Photo: Alex Perrottet / RNZ

He said this was one of the challenges facing law enforcement officers on the ground.

"There have been arrests throughout the country particularly in the western division. And of course most of them have been charged. We are still appealing to our people to please cooperate with us."

Mr Seruiratu urged Fijians to adhere to the measures as the "sooner we are over with this, the sooner we can get back to normalcy".

Police said 68 people were arrested on Monday and 49 on Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho said there was "sheer laxity and a no-care attitude" from some members of the public.

Mr Qiliho said many of those arrested were either "returning from a social gathering or kava session while others did not have a reason as to why they had lost track of the time."

He said police had increased patrols in areas outside of the roadblocks and checkpoints areas.

He urged the public to report those breaching the curfew.

On Wednesday, the government extended the lockdown of Lautoka to Tuesday where the country's first cases of Covid-19 were detected.

Dozens of people have also been arrested in Lautoka for violating the Public Order Act.

Mr Qiliho said he has directed his officers to arrest and charge anyone caught violating the curfew and lockdown measures.

Under the Public Order Act, anyone found guilty of breaching the Covid-19 restrictions could face penalties of up to $US4,300 in fines or five years in prison.

There are currently five cases of the coronavirus in Fiji.

Fiji police.

Fiji police. Photo: Facebook / Fiji Police Force