AG Ally urges public to abide by restriction on movement order and limits on business operations |14 April 2020
Attorney General Frank Ally called on President Danny Faure at the State House last Thursday to discuss the restriction of movement order as announced by the department of health, so as to stop the propagation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Seychelles.
The order, restricting the movement of persons with the exception of persons working in essential services and to access essential services, officially came into effect on Wednesday April 9 at 11.59pm.
Speaking at a press conference after his meeting with President Faure, AG Ally called for the public to cooperate and comply with the orders, noting that it seemed to be “business as usual” on Thursday morning, as large numbers of people still circulated, not necessarily to access essential services.
Asides from a restriction on movement, all trade premises not providing essentials goods or services are to remain closed for the three-week period for which the order is effective. Business premises offering essential goods and services are also restricted to closing operations at 6.30pm, while take-away and food outlets are to remain closed but provide services on order.
“All residents, whether Seychellois or non-Seychellois will have to comply with the order. The public health commissioner is asking everyone to cooperate with enforcement agencies that will enforce the orders. The objective of the order is essentially to stop the spread of the coronavirus and also there is a public health emergency at hand. As stipulated by the Public Health Act, the Public Health Commissioner has powers to declare a public health emergency, which they have done already and as a result, this gives them powers to issue orders to protect public health. These orders are meant to protect public health. He also has powers to review the orders so in the days to come, based on how the situation develops in the country, the commissioner will evaluate the orders and possibly bring about more restrictions,” the AG noted.
“It is really important that the police force react in an appropriate manner based on the actual situation and the law which imparts them power. This morning, as I said, I saw a lot of circulation and maybe for the first day, there is a relaxation of this which shouldn’t be the case as we need to drive home to the population that they are not free to circulate. One cannot say they are going for a run or cycling around the island. You have no right to leave your home with the exception of if you are going to work, to access essential services or to access food supplies, shops and such.”
AG Ally warned that the police will intensify checkpoints to ensure that people do not flout the order, and the authorities find themselves in a situation where everyone finds an excuse to be outdoors.
He further noted that the order is subject to change should the situation change, as is the list of services considered as essential, urging the population to be prudent in their circulation and for service providers to observe advisory guidelines and ensure that social distancing is practised on the business premises.
AG Ally further warned that persons who flout the order may be arrested and prosecuted, noting that he has also advised members of the force to remain as calm as possible and avoid using physical force at all costs when possible.
“Do we want to bring Seychelles to its knees? By now you don’t need a public health officer to tell us what risks this pandemic could bring for the population. This is why there are orders to protect public health and our population,” AG Ally concluded.
All construction projects have also been suspended and construction companies are obliged to ensure that their workers remain at their accommodation for the three weeks.