Dili, 14 March 2021 (Lusa) – The National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) detained during an operation conducted today in various parts of the capital, Dili, more than 230 people for various violations of the mandatory confinement rules in force in the city .
The PNTL district commander, Henrique da Costa, explained to Lusa that the 233 detainees, including several foreign citizens, were taken to the police headquarters, identified and later released.
“The operation started early and involves personnel from the district command, the maritime police, the police training center, the headquarters and the special police units, and it will continue in the next few days in Dili,” he said.
“These people were disobeying the rules of confinement, circulating in the street without being for the authorized reasons, without wearing masks and without practicing social distance,” he said.
In addition to today’s arrests, PNTL detained more than 20 people on Saturday in another operation in Dili, in this case involving a group that was playing futsal, when collective sports activities are expressly prohibited.
Also on Friday and Saturday, the authorities carried out several inspection operations, verifying drivers and drivers, having confiscated more than two dozen motorcycles and several vehicles from people who lacked either the necessary documentation or the declaration to be able to circulate.
Confinement rules allow you to leave home, among other reasons, to buy food or access health services, requiring essential workers to carry a company statement with you.
“At this stage, we are just identifying people, warning them that they should not repeat what they did and that they have to obey the Government’s resolution and stay at home,” he said.
“We ask all of them to pass on the message to their family, friends and community that they must respect the confinement because this type of operations will continue”, he underlined.
Henrique da Costa said that eventually, the fact that there have not yet been serious cases or deaths due to covid-19 has led some people to minimize the risk of the disease, which helps to explain the biggest movement today, when there are the largest number of active cases, than a year ago, when Dili practically closed and there was only one case.
“It cannot always be the police who act. There is also an individual responsibility for each person to comply with the rules and to avoid leaving the house as much as possible ”, he reiterated.
“People, perhaps, think that this is not serious because even if the number of cases increases, no one has yet died. But this is exactly what we want to prevent and that is why we must respect the mandatory confinement ”, he stressed.
ASP // JMC
Lusa / End