The Malta Independent 20 May 2022, Friday

Police ‘authorised’ to enter and inspect premises to check if Covid-19 measures are followed

Jake Aquilina Sunday, 28 March 2021, 08:30 Last update: about 2 years ago

The police are authorised to enter and inspect areas and premises to enforce regulations and measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, a spokesperson has told this newsroom.

Initially, at the start of March, Malta introduced measures to curb a steady rise in cases by closing restaurants, with only take-away being available.

However, Malta saw the highest spike of cases a few weeks ago, with a record 510 cases being recorded on the 10th of March. This resulted in further increased measures on the same day.

One of the new measures was to restrict private gatherings to people coming from two households. Previously, people from up to four households were allowed to mix.

This raised questions as to how it is going to be enforced, as police do not usually have the authority to enter private residences.

However, the police have informed The Malta Independent on Sunday that they now have the authority to "enter and inspect any area and premises" whilst enforcing such regulations.

"With regards to the legal notice related to Groups of Persons in Residential Properties, the Superintendent of Public Health has delegated the authority to the Police to enforce the mentioned regulations, in accordance with Article 5 of the Public Health Act (Chapter 465 of the Laws of Malta)," the police spokesperson said.

This newsroom tried to get a legal perspective from a number of lawyers but was unable to get any comments.

Last week, over a hundred fines were dished out over breaches of the two-household rule. Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci has urged people to avoid gatherings altogether over the coming days. She said that, if someone needs to have people come over to their house, they should ensure that these people come from only one household. In the case of anyone needing people to come over for maintenance work or medical care, one should keep a distance, she said.

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