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COVID19: Love in the time of coronavirus

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A love-struck Romeo was sentenced to 45 days in prison after being found guilty of breaking Cyprus lockdown to go visit his girlfriend during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old, from Famagusta, said he had ‘decided to visit his girlfriend’ when Dherynia police officers stopped and cautioned him for breaking the curfew, a little after 9 pm on March 25.

A daily night-time curfew between 9 pm-6 am was imposed on March 24.

Delivering the stern punishment, the court said that government decrees and regulations had been issued to protect public health.

The Famagusta district court argued that the defendant was aware of the lockdown with daily pleas from the government, experts, police and others on the need to comply, which he chose to defy.

Branding such behaviour as “unacceptable”, the court said that COVID-19 decrees have dramatically changed the lives of those who adhered to the law.

“Yet some believe they are above the law and their fellow citizens, ignore the decrees and continue with their lives as if nothing is happening,” the court said.

“Certainly, behaviour such as the defendant’s is unacceptable, he simply decided at night to go see his girlfriend.”

Noting that violating laws regarding public health is a serious offence, the court ruled that in order for justice to be served, it is obliged to deliver the right messages in a powerful manner.

“This can only be achieved through the imposition of strict penalties which act as a deterrent,” the court said.

In its decision, the court took into account the defendant’s clean criminal record and his personal circumstances.