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UAE cops step up vigil as Covid-19 violations spike

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah/Ajman
afkarali@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 29, 2020 | Last updated on June 29, 2020 at 06.36 am
covid-19, coronavirus, sharjah police, ajman police, covid-19 violations

Officers from Sharjah and Ajman said they have recorded a 'marked increase' in violations, especially hosting gatherings and failure to wear masks.

The UAE's gradual and responsible return to normalcy does not give residents the licence to violate the precautionary regulations put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19, Sharjah's police chief has said.

The police have stepped up patrolling and vigilance to ensure people follow the rules that will help the country flatten the curve. This came after authorities announced on Saturday that they have noticed an increase in the number of violations after the night-time movement restrictions were lifted.

Officers from Sharjah and Ajman told Khaleej Times that they have recorded a "marked increase" in violations, especially hosting gatherings and failure to wear face masks in public spaces.

Major-General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, said the force will continue to carry out its duty to spot violators and issue administrative penalties. "Reopening or returning to normal life does mean one can ignore the precautionary protocols issued by authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.

"In the last few days, there has been an increase in violations. This includes gathering in public places, homes or farms and not wearing masks. Such practices could result in wasting the gains we have made," the Sharjah Police chief said.

Another officer stressed the need for residents to adhere to the new normal - practise social distancing and wear masks while they are outdoors. "As the economy is returning to the new normal, many people are becoming careless in following the rules set to curb the spread of the virus," the officer said.

During a virtual briefing on Saturday, government spokespersons reiterated that the list of fines and penalties - as announced earlier - remains in force. "The fine will be doubled for those found repeating the violation. Third-time offenders could face up to six months in jail and/or a minimum fine of Dh100,000," said Salem Al Zaabi, acting director of the Federal Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Prosecution.

Collective responsibility

Authorities have been working around the clock to combat the spread of Covid-19. With the number of cases dipping significantly, "it is the responsibility of every individual to help preserve the gains".

The police will strictly enforce the regulations laid out by the federal and local authorities. "Since the first day of the reopening, police patrols were intensified, especially in areas with high worker influx. These patrols prevented gatherings and ensured social distancing. Patrols were also deployed in entertainment areas, corniches and markets to make sure community members adhered to the precautionary measures," he said.

Awareness drive in Ajman

In Ajman, along with the intensified patrolling, the police have also launched an awareness campaign, alerting community members about the Covid-19 regulations. This includes posting Covid-19 guidelines, instructions and warnings on social media platforms; and distributing awareness posters.

"Residents are urged to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines whether they are at the mall, in public transport means, accommodations, swimming pools or beaches," said an officer.

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

Afkar Abdullah


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