Maputo — Mozambique’s Minister of the Interior, Amade Miquidade, announced on Wednesday that the police will step up its enforcement of the government’s measures intended to hold back the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was speaking at a Maputo press conference shortly after President Filipe Nyusi had warned that measures will be taken against those who ignore preventive measures such as social distancing, the wearing of face masks and the ban on consuming alcohol in public.
Nyusi, clearly angered at the widespread disregard for the Covid-19 rules, declared “When we said we were going to relax the measures, people thought the disease was over. It’s not over – it’s killing more people”.
Miquidade announced that the police will work in coordination with the Ministry of Health, the National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE), the National Land Transport Institute (INATTER), and local and municipal authorities.
He said that the continual diagnosis of new cases, and the community transmission of Covid-19 in cities such as Maputo “makes it urgent to strengthen compliance with the measures arising from the Situation of Public Calamity declared by the government, particularly the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks in bars, at stalls, in markets and on the public highway”.
The partial relaxation of measures first announced in April, he continued, “obeys the need to reorganise our lives, work, school and other activities, so that the economy does not grind to a halt and our children do not lose the school year”.
Despite this, many of the measures have not been lifted – including the obligatory wearing of masks in public places, regular hand washing, social distancing, and restrictions on the number of passengers who can be carried by buses or mini-buses.
Public places, said Miquidade, “belong to everybody and their use should be “conscious, responsible and mature”.
He warned that any attitude that contradicts this responsible behaviour will oblige the authorities to intervene against all those who do not comply with the Covid-19 prevention measures.
He pointed out that the consumption of alcohol in public places such as beaches had been banned years before anybody had ever heard of Covid-19. There is a decree of October 2013 which prohibits the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks in public parks and gardens, at bus stops and taxi ranks, in markets, and on the roads and pavements.
This decree has been widely ignored, but its existence means the government does not need any new legislation to crack down against people drinking alcohol on the beaches and other public places.
People who sell alcohol illegally can be fined, and their premises could be closed, temporarily or definitively, said Miquidade. Consumers can be fined 10 per cent of the monthly minimum wage. If drunk, they can be detained until sobriety returns.
Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique