Pursuant to the lockdown in the Republic of Mauritius, the Head of State of the country through the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation announced measures to be adopted during the confinement period of all Homo Sapiens on Mauritian grounds. In order for the state to have the legal framework to operate, co-ordinate, mitigate and prevent the spread of our invisible enemy, the Prevention and Mitigation of Infectious Disease(Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 has been adopted on the 20th March 2020.This article will be in the form of a question and answer format so that the enforcement side of this regulation is death with.
Question No 1: What are the powers given to the Police to enforce this Regulation?
The Police may board any ship or aircraft and enter any premises without a warrant for the purposes of enforcing compliance with these regulations. In addition where a person is quarantined or isolated a police officer may either take the person to a suitable place specified by a medical practitioner not below the rank of Regional Public Health Superintendent, for the person to be quarantined/isolated or keep the person in detention.
Question No 2: What happens if a person absconds from the place he/she is being quarantined or isolated?
A police officer may take the person into custody and return the person to the place where he/she was being quarantined or isolated. A police officer may use reasonable force if necessary in the exercise of his powers and also arrest, without a warrant , any person he has reasonable cause to believe has committed any offence under these regulations.
Question No 3: What are the powers of the Sanitary Authority?
The Sanitary Authority and any officer who has been duly deputed may during either day or at night:
- Enter and inspect any premises where he/she may have reasonable grounds to believe that coronavirus exists or has recently existed;
- enter on any premises to exercise such supervision and control where he/she may have reasonable grounds to believe that coronavirus exists or has recently existed;
- enter on any premises to enforce these regulations;and
- enter any common lodging house.
Furthermore the Sanitary Authority may examine any person found on the premises with a view to ascertaining whether that person is suffering, or has recently suffered, from coronavirus and may be accompanied by the Police.
Question No 4: What are the offences under the Regulation?
A person shall commit an offence when he/she:-
- absconds, or attempts to abscond from the place where he is isolated or quarantined;
- provides false or misleading information whilst being quarantined or isolated;or
- obstructs, whilst being isolated or quarantined, a person in the discharge of his functions under these regulations;
- without lawful authority, enters or remains in a restricted area;
- breaches any measures that have been taken to control the movement and conduct of persons in any hospitals.
Question No 5: What are the consequences if a person does not abide to these Regulations?
Any person who contravenes these regulations shall on conviction, be liable to a fine and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.