Police and HMAF call on the public to follow the strict rules of the lockdown
Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 30/03/2020
With several restrictions coming into effect with the lockdown of the country, soldiers and police have been mobilized to enforce the restrictions which came into effect at 1am on Sunday. Police and soldiers have been stationed at checkpoints around the country to emphasize to the people to stay home except for emergencies or workers in essential services still operating during the lockdown.
There are approximately 500 soldiers from His Majesty’s Armed and more than 200 police officers taking part in this national operation against COVID-19 which includes enforcing the restrictions that are in place for this week. A curfew has also been established from 8pm to 6am each day while the country is in lockdown and police and soldiers are patrolling the roads and public areas to ensure that the public follow the rules during the lockdown.
With a day and a half of this operation completed at noon today, the Second in Command of His Majesty’s Armed Forces – Captain Sione Ulakai and the Head of Operation from Police- ‘Atunaisa Taumoepeau said there were satisfactory results from the police and soldiers checkpoints although there were a few who were reportedly not complying with the restrictions.
One of the issues this morning in particular was the long queues on the road, which Taumoepeau said was mainly from workers in essential services who needed to get to work, but they are now looking to work together with these workplaces to minimize the number of workers or to arrange for shared rides so there won’t be so many vehicles causing traffic on the roads during the lockdown.
Ulakai said there were also a few cases of rude behavior from drivers for being stopped at the checkpoints and Taumoepeau added that some people were out for non-essential purposes and had to be turned back by officers with the reminder to stay home during the lockdown and only leave for emergencies or for essential purposes.
Taumoepeau said that for some, the importance of this operation is not clear and so they are trying to emphasize to the public, that this lockdown is a serious issue and those caught breaching the restrictions can be arrested.
Both Ulakai and Taumoepeau urged the public to be more patient and to follow the strict restrictions of the lockdown as it will only benefit the people.
© Radio and Television Tonga News