(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Police have set up a special operations centre to handle COVID-19 cases, Police Spokesperson SP Jaliya Senarathne said yesterday.
He was speaking at a media briefing at the Police headquarters. Five hotlines have been set up for people to communicate about any persons suspected to be carrying the virus. Accordingly, the numbers are 0112444480, 0112444481, 0115978730, 0115978720, 0115978734 and [email protected] email address.
Police request the people to provide information of any persons suspected to show symptoms.
Seven officers from each Police station have been reserved for duty to quarantine such cases.
The Police will take stern action against anyone who fails to adhere to the quarantine procedures under the Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance.
The Government has also taken steps to ban all public and private gatherings where people congregate.
With the detection of 10 Coronavirus patients in the country and are receiving treatment, the possibility of more people infected with the virus being among us cannot be ruled out.
The acting IGP has therefore, instructed all Police stations to notify the people regarding this ban through mobile public address systems.
“With the World Health Organization declaring the Coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic and in order to prevent its spread within Sri Lanka, any Police officer has the authority to arrest anyone who fails to adhere to the quarantine procedures, even without a warrant under the provisions of the 1897 Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance No. 03,” the Police Media Division said in a statement issued yesterday.
Under Chapter XIV of the Penal Code pertaining to offences affecting public health, safety, convenience, decency and morals 262, acts of negligence which can lead to the spread of infection of any disease detrimental to life, 263, Malicious Act likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life and 264, Disobedience of a quarantine rule, any Police officer has the authority to arrest any person violating the above rules without a warrant.
In the event an arrest is made under the above provisions, if the relevant OIC of a Police station feels that by granting bail to the arrested person could affect public peace, then the OIC has the authority to produce the person before court and the Magistrate has the authority to imprison the person under the provisions of the law.
Further, under Paragraph 107 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1979, every Police officer should extend his fullest to prevent a crime and must extend his fullest effort to prevent it. `
Therefore, if anyone violates the Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance, the Police warns that strict action would be taken against such persons.