77 fines for quarantine breach since start of COVID-19 pandemic

National security minister says police carried out 24,019 inspections on people told to undergo mandatory quarantine • 1,197 fined for being in groups larger than three  

24,019 inspections on people ordered to enforce mandatory quarantine were carried out by police since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The information was tabled in parliament by national security minister Byron Camilleri on Monday, after a parliamentary question by Labour MP Jean Claude Micallef.

Camilleri said that 77 citations were issued to people who were caught breaking quarantine regulation.

The minister called people caught breaking mandatory quarantine “selfish”.

“They did not care for their loved ones, they did not care for their friends and they did not care for society in general,” Camilleri said.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and break mandatory quarantine are subject to a €10,000, with a €3,000 fine for people who are ordered to stay in quarantine because they were in contact with infected persons.

In an effort to limit the contagion, government had also issued regulation which restricted people to meet in groups of three people or less when meeting in public spaces.

1,197 citations were issued to people caught in larger groups.

Camilleri said this was only possible thanks to effort by the police corps, whose different sections were instructed to carry patrols outside their usual remit.

According to the police minister, inspections and foot patrols were carried out in both hot spots like the Sliema and Marsaskala promenades, as well as less crowded areas like residential areas.

The minister said that work done by the police during the pandemic will also serve as an example on how the corps should work in the future.

“We believe in having police in the streets and among the community, not in police stations,” he said.

Criminality during COVID-19

The national security minister was also asked if criminality during the coronavirus pandemic registered an increase.

While monthly comparisons showed that criminality saw no changes, Camilleri did not rule out a surge in the future.

“We want to make sure that the police stay vigilant in order to curb any new forms of criminality,” Cammileri said, drawing comparisons with the mugging of a delivery man. The perpetrators have since been arrested and taken to court.

He also warned against an increase in cybercrime, highlighting the fact that as more people are stuck at home, the chance of falling victim to online scams increase.