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The 49th Cook Islands Parliamentary sitting, the first for 2020 will commence today.
Due to the Covid-19 health measures currently in place and the country about to go from Code Blue to Code Yellow as part of the Covid-19 National Emergency Response, this will be a short sitting to address urgent matters of national importance.
Social distancing and cleansing procedures are precautionary measures that will be enforced and all Members of Parliament, Parliamentary staff and associated contract workers will be following these with caution.
Parliament staff would like to encourage the public to please adhere to the same protocols.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Maara Tetava took further steps in strengthening the health and safety measures around public places, cancelling the licenses of all bars and nightclubs in the country.
Tetava advised the relevant license holders on Monday that it was important every effort is made to follow the advice of the Ministry of Health Te Marae Ora to adhere to social distancing and hygienic practices.
As the Chair of the Liquor Licensing Authority, Tetava said it was important to put measures in place, to prevent people from congregating in groups and posing unnecessary risks due to the possible threat of the coronavirus.
All bar and nightclub licenses are now cancelled until further notice.
Some nightclubs had already decided to close down until further notice before the announcement to cancel the licenses was made.
Tetava also issued a public notice to those working and visiting the police offices.
From, Tuesday March 24, driver licence testing, issuing of new driver’s licences, renewal of driver’s licences and issuing of raffles, housie and importation of firearms and ammunition permits will cease until further notice.
Due diligence reports and Liquor Licencing Authority and Transport Licencing Authority meeting will not take place indefinitely.
Anyone who has a driver’s licence, which has expired or is about to expire will be waived for the duration of suspension of services.
Tetava said the prospect of home confinement for health reasons may also be a looming reality for the general public but on another level of mobility restrictions, a separate contingent of individuals is always under the watchful eye of police.
These are the defendants involved in cases where court orders have been handed down while legal processes continue.
Bail conditions for example, include curfews, which require a ‘lockdown’ at home between the hours of 7pm to 7am.
Other conditions may involve a ban from liquor licensed premises, associating with other suspects and/or witnesses, reporting regularly to the police, and the prevention of travel beyond Rarotonga.
Police officers are required to keep a vigilant check on those subject to such orders and any breaches are effectively dealt with.
During the weekend, one individual was found to be in breach of his curfew and is now facing arrest.
Officers continue to apply strong monitoring and any breaches will be penalised accordingly.
SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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