The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Photo: Simeon Celi / AP
The Philippine head of state Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the arrest of people who do not wear their corona protective masks properly.
"My instructions to the police are: Those who do not wear their masks properly should be arrested," said Duterte in a video released on Wednesday evening.
"It is in the country's interest that no one else is infected or infected."
Even those who wore a mask but did not cover their nose would have to be arrested.
In the future, they could be arrested and interrogated for up to nine hours, Duterte continued.
"Hold them tight, ask them why they are doing this."
The Philippines is currently struggling with a renewed increase in the number of infections.
So far, more than a million people have been infected with the virus there - the second highest rate in Southeast Asia.
More than 17,500 died.
In view of the renewed increase in the number of infections, the corona requirements in the capital Manila and the neighboring regions were tightened at the end of March.
Since then, thousands of people have been fined for violating the requirements.
A man had died: he had to do a hundred squats for violating the curfew.
Fines and Community Service
The justice minister and the police chief had urged their officials not to arrest people for violations, but to impose fines or order community service.
President Duterte, however, has now declared that the police must crack down on rule breakers.
The video with Duterte's arrangement shows the President during a meeting with employees of his Corona task force, all of whom are wearing a mask;
Duterte himself doesn't wear one.
The human rights organization Karapatan called the head of state's order "outrageous, unscientific and ineffective."
In the Philippines, the police and the military are key players in fighting the pandemic.
So far, around 1.6 million first vaccine doses have been administered in the country with a population of 110 million.
According to the government, fewer than 300,000 people have already received both vaccine doses.
mrc / AFP