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Practice what you preach! Officials worldwide who've broken COVID-19 rules

These are some government officials, across the world, who have contravened COVID-19 lockdown rules in their countries.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a media briefing on the coronavirus on 25 March 2020 in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Globally, we are now sitting at over 1.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases, with just over 82,000 deaths and roughly 303,000 recoveries. More infections are to be expected as no cure or vaccine for the virus has been found.

But in many countries, these cases may not be as drastic as we have seen, with many going into state of emergency lockdowns to try and curb the rapid spread of the global pandemic. Typically, these lockdowns are only for 21 days but if attempts to curb the spread are not showing improvement, then these lockdowns tend to be extended as we have seen in countries like Italy and Spain.

However, we have also seen a number of arrests in countries, including here South Africa, of people being arrested while trying to defy lockdown regulations. In countries like the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has even gone as far as instructing security forces to shoot those who defy lockdown rules.

But it seems as though ordinary citizens are not the only ones disobeying lockdown rules as EWN has compiled a list of officials worldwide who have also decided to rebel against the regulations set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

SOUTH AFRICA:

Lindiwe Zulu:

We will start on home soil with two officials we know who have contravened lockdown regulations two weeks into implementation. The first, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu who decided to take to Instagram to express how “inconvenienced” she was because of the COVID-19 lockdown regulations and how this made travelling for her difficult. In the now-deleted video, the minister said: "Stay at home if you can, I am finding it difficult to stay at home."

Stella-Ndabeni Abrahams:

Ndabeni-Abrahams is the latest government official to contravene the 21-day lockdown rules as set out by President Cyril Ramaphosa. On Tuesday, the Communications Minister came under fire when former deputy minister of HIgher Education Mduduzi Manana posted a picture on Instagram having a luncheon with Ndabeni-Abrahams. In the now-deleted post, Manana captioned the image: "It was great to host a former colleague and dear sister Cde Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on her way back from executing critical and essential services.” Manana, however, released a statement claiming that the Ndabeni-Abrahams was at his home to fetch protective gear to donate to students on his behalf. On Wednesday morning, the Presidency announced that Ndabeni Abrahams was placed on special leave for two months.

SCOTLAND:

In Scotland, the country’s chief medical officer resigned after being caught breaching lockdown rules in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, Euronews reported.

Catherine Calderwood reportedly visited her second home over the weekend, breaching national guidelines to only travel if absolutely necessary during the pandemic.

NEW ZEALAND:

New Zealand’s Health Minister David Clark was demoted after he drove his family to the beach while the country is still in lockdown. He also reportedly admitted to previously driving to a park near his home to go mountain biking. So, he broke the rules TWICE.

UNITED STATES

But some officials or employees who have been deemed to have contravened COVID-19 rules have done so arguably in the interest of the public. Like the USS Theodore Roosevelt captain who was last week released from his duty after he reportedly made an “extremely poor judgement” by widely disseminating a memo about the coronavirus infection spreading quickly on the vessel with 4,800 crew members. According to the acting secretary of the US Navy, Thomas Modly, Crozier “misrepresented the facts” and took him to task for disobeying the chain of command.

Or even emergency room doctor, Ming Lin, from Washington state was fired for posting complaints on Facebook about the working conditions of his fellow staff members who were pleading for more protective gear, according to a Quartz report.