New Zealand police arrest five for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

The Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch, New Zealand, as seen on November 11, 2019. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

New Zealand police have arrested at least five people for violating the country’s Alert Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown mandate.

In Christchurch, officers arrested three people allegedly involved in an anti-lockdown protest. A group of 10 people gathered on the Bridge of Remembrance on Cashel Street.

Police encouraged the protestors to comply with Alert Level 4 restrictions. However, they arrested a 46-year-old man, a 50-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman, charging charged the three with failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

The Christchurch protests follow a gathering at the exact location. In that instance, police issued two people warnings.

Meanwhile, two people were arrested in the Far North after refusing to wear a face covering. Police said they were acting disorderly toward supermarket staff and others while refusing to wear a face covering.

A 44-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were arrested for disorderly behavior and breaching the Public Health Response Act. The woman was also reportedly behaving in a threatening manner.

“While the actions of these five people are disappointing, Police continue to see a high level of compliance from New Zealanders under Alert level 4,” Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement. “We all know what’s expected of us by now and that it takes a collective effort to stop COVID-19 in its tracks.

“Our communities are largely respecting the requirement to wear a face covering at essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies, and Police will remain out and about conducting compliance checks and reassurance patrols,” Coster added. “We would like to remind the public that while Police will be taking an education-first approach, as we’ve seen over the last couple of days, enforcement action will be taken when necessary.”

Police also urge motorists to drive safely, including avoiding unnecessary travel to reduce congestion, particularly around COVID-19 testing sites. They also don’t want motorists to speed on the currently quieter roads.

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