THE government has reported that some people are obstructing front-line workers from carrying out swabbing when conducting COVID-19 tests.
Resisting and obstructing authorized officers carrying out their mandated duties in this time of COVID 19 community transmission is an offense under Regulation 47 of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 3) Regulations 2021 (“the Regulations”).
The offense carries with it a maximum penalty of $15,000.00 fine or, 5-year imprisonment or both.
The Attorney-General John Muria (Jnr) issued this warning after receiving reports that a number of identified Honiara residents are obstructing and resisting COVID 19 swabs when approached by front liners.
“The government is aware, some people wanted for COVID 19 test are resisting being swabbed. These people must be warned, the penalty for resisting or obstructing the front-liners carrying out their duties is $15,000.00 fine or, 5-year imprisonment or both,” the Attorney General stated.
The Attorney General stressed, that the duties of the front-liners who are Authorised Officers under the Regulations are necessary to preserve public health, safety, order, and security during this time of COVID 19 community outbreak. Adhering to their directions, requests, or orders are to enable the protection of the people.
The Attorney-General said anyone who resists being swabbed by the health team without any lawful reason will be prosecuted. The front liners are carrying duties in the national interest and any person found resisting and obstructing authorized officers will be dealt with once the community transmission is controlled
He reminds all that the government will no longer tolerate any more breaches. Such individuals will be charged and prosecuted under the Regulations after the current community transmission is successfully dealt with.
The Government continues to applaud the outstanding work of our dedicated and committed frontline workers who give their all for their country in ensuring current community transmission is traced, contained and effects are kept at bay, he said.
Try to stress here that they will not be charged now but once everything settles, the relevant authorities will be taking the necessary steps to ensure that those in breach will be prosecuted.