Muscat: Punishments have been handed down to violators of the rules put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, by the Courts of First Instance in Al Buraimi and South Al Sharqiyah.
The legal process was initiated by Oman’s Public Prosecution, which interrogated nine suspects who reportedly breached the decision of the Supreme Committee that banned movement during the night time lockdown period. The suspects were then transferred to the designated courts.
The courts convicted the suspects and awarded them verdicts of six-months in jail, and an OMR1,000 fine each, in the case of Omanis who were found guilty of breaking the rules, and an OMR1,000 fine and an order of deportation from Oman in the case of expatriate violators.
In keeping with the decision of the Supreme Committee in this context, the names and photos of the offenders will be published in the local media, to spread awareness of the importance of adhering to the COVID-19 safeguards.
During the recently-held press conference of the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Saidi, the Minister of Health, said these legal measures had been taken to stress the importance of following regulations during these testing times.
“We do not seek to defame others, which is not in our customs or traditions,” he said. “Resorting to this matter is for compelling reasons only. There are countries which followed the same approach of announcing the names and individuals and institutions who have violated the law. The result was more effective than a fine, which is double in comparison to the amount in the Sultanate.
“The percentage of violations committed decreased due to publishing the names of violators,” added the minister. “I come to know there are many people preparing for weddings. If any commercial activities involved in planning such occasions are found committing violations, they will be fined.” The Minister of Health urged people and organisations intent on not observing the rules of the lockdown to refrain from doing so, as it was not possible for the Supreme Committee to constantly keep an eye on everyone to see if they were obeying the laws.
“Any person reported to have violated the announced night movement ban will be held accountable,” he said. “Some commercial operations will be closed soon, but we hoped this would never happen. The decision to ban gatherings of all kinds is still in effect. Please report any violations that are detected regarding hosting gatherings. Reporting violations is a national duty.”