COVID FINES ON THE WAY
Taken from this week's issue.
MPs passed the Communicable Diseases Bill, which includes the new measures, following a debate on Thursday.
The Bill has now been passed to President Mustafa Akıncı for approval, and will come into force once published in the Official Gazette.
Under the plans, fines of one tenth of the monthly minimum salary – or 382TL – will be imposed on anyone not wearing a face mask or who fails to observe social distancing rules.
People who do not comply with self-isolation or quarantine rules could be fined up to five times the monthly minimum wage and/or be sentenced to a maximum prison term of one year.
Owners of workplaces that violate social distancing and other hygiene requirements now face a fine equal to the monthly minimum wage and having their premises closed for 24 hours.
Those failing to obey a closure instruction can be fined up to six times the monthly minimum wage and/or be sentenced to a prison term of up to one year.
In addition, offenders who fail to pay fines within 30 days will be fined up to six times the monthly minimum wage and/or be jailed for 12 months.
It was not clear last night how the rules will be enforced, but police this week carried out a series of coronavirus inspections on businesses across the TRNC.
During Thursday’s debate, National Unity Party (UBP) MP Resmiye Canaltay, said that the new legislation had been prepared to overcome “deficiencies” that the pandemic has brought to light.
In separate comments to Cyprus Today, Mrs Canaltay underlined the importance of acting “cautiously” and called on members of the public to “take responsibility”.
“Other countries in the world are experiencing a tougher situation than us, and they do not apply the quarantine rules that we apply,” she said.
“Our citizens are complaining about the quarantine rules and determining them as ‘insufficient’.
“However, people are wandering around without a mask and violating social distancing rules.”
People’s Party MP Jale Refik Rogers commended the “great efforts” made by the parliamentary Administrative, Public and Health Affairs Committee, which she chairs, that drafted the new legislation, adding: “The heavy fines and penalties . . . are not intended to be a burden on the public but to act as a deterrent aimed at protecting them.”
Meanwhile two people face prosecution after making separate escapes from the same, unnamed quarantine hotel in Girne to mingle with members of the public, according to reports.
A woman was said to have returned to her room after a brief period of “freedom” on Tuesday when she was caught on security cameras climbing out from a balcony.
On Thursday a man was caught by police after escaping from the same hotel.