These are some of the bizarre excuses that stir crazy people are giving police when found violating quarantine.
Even as a pandemic rages across the world, keeping yourself indoors all the time can be tough. We are used to going out to shopping malls, parks or bars and many of us never imagined spending so much time sitting on a sofa watching Netflix - no matter how nice that might have seemed before the virus emerged.
For some it’s too much to handle. And so despite the lockdowns and partial curfews that have been put in place in dozens of countries, desperate individuals try to circumvent police blockades with excuses that can be bewildering.
Here are a few stories that speak of the desperation some people feel to escape from the confines of one’s own home (or mind).
1- A matter of a beehive
In the UK countryside town of Cullompton, police have stopped and fined people for going out unnecessarily. On a recent evening, the top two reasons people gave local police for taking a drive or a walk were: I’m taking a beehive to a field or I’m taking a PlayStation to my friend’s house.
Talk about ingenuity.
Checkpoint stop site in cullompton. Top two reasons for being out this evening :— Alliance Roads Policing📱+🚗=❌ (@RoadPolAlliance) March 26, 2020
1. I'm taking a beehive to a field
2. I'm taking a PlayStation to my mates house.
Both were sent home with strong words of advice.
MPC BROWN pic.twitter.com/Zx7YsYNBuY
That’s just one of the many excuses used to escape home quarantine.
In Oxfordshire, police stopped a man and his son for driving around town and hunting for Pokemon, the virtual creatures of the game, which was a craze among young people in 2017.
When police in Dorset questioned beachgoers for breaching the lockdown, these are the explanation they received:
“I need to paint my beach hut”, and “I am out for health and safety reasons, to check on the sea for fishing tomorrow.”
The UK has seen a steady rise in the number of infected people and deaths from the coronavirus. On Tuesday, it reported 393 fatalities - the largest single-day surge - as the total death toll increased to more than 1,700.
The death of a 13-year-old boy with no underlying health conditions has added to the anxiety of officials and the public.
In a speedily introduced law last month, police were handed powers to fine people for gathering in groups of more than two or stepping out without a valid reason.
Last week, Derbyshire Police shared a video showing people visiting a hiking site despite warnings against doing so.
But in a country where police don’t even carry weapons, there have been concerns that law enforcement is using heavy-handed tactics to keep people in line.
"This is what a police state is like. It's a state in which the government can issue orders or express preferences with no legal authority and the police will enforce ministers' wishes,” Lord Sumption, a former Supreme Court judge, told BBC radio.
Despite posts yesterday highlighting issues of people still visiting the #PeakDistrict despite government guidance, the message is still not getting through. @DerPolDroneUnit have been out at beauty spots across the county, and this footage was captured at #CurbarEdge last night. pic.twitter.com/soxWvMl0ls— Derbyshire Police (@DerbysPolice) March 26, 2020
2 - Off for a hunt
In New Zealand, people are using what police say are “abysmal excuses” to flout a nationwide lockdown that was imposed last week to control the spread of the pandemic.
While the majority are following instructions, some of them give reasons to police that can hardly be taken seriously.
For instance, a person told police that he was going to water a friend’s garden and in another case, a person drove 20 kilometres from New Brighton to the Waimakariri River to walk their dogs.
Near Lake Lyndon in the Canterbury region, police found a note dated March 28 on a car that said the occupant has gone off for a hunt.
In some places, authorities allowed people to exercise close to their homes. But people have stretched that definition.
Violations being reported to police include tourists driving around in campervans, people walking along the beach and surfing.
New Zealand has reported 806 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death. But authorities have warned that these are low figures that can spike as more people are tested for the infectious disease.
“Make no mistake this will get worse before it gets better. We will have a lag and cases will increase for the next week or so. Then we’ll begin to know how successful we have been,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while announcing the lockdown on March 25.
3- ‘I want to buy bread’
On a recent Sunday, police in Spain stopped a man on a motorcycle for violating the lockdown. In his defence, he said he’d come out only to buy bread. But his documents showed that he lived 21 kilometres from where he was questioned and had driven past five towns in an apparent search for the daily staple. He was duly escorted home.
Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed more than 8,460 people in Spain, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. That’s the second highest death toll anywhere in the world after Italy.
Madrid toughened the lockdown over the weekend, prohibiting people from going out of their homes for any non-essential purposes. Authorities fear that already overworked hospitals won’t be able to deal with the rising number of Covid-19 cases, which has crossed the 100,000 mark.
4- Delivering the newspaper
Another interesting excuse comes from Spain’s northwestern Galicia region where police intercepted three young people to ask where they were headed - their reply was: to deliver newspapers. They were all fined as they had nothing to prove that they were actually delivering newspapers.
“God knows where they had been,” said the police officer.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has requested people avoid venturing out for two weeks.
"The most important thing is to slow the number of people being taken to hospital," he said in a televised address.
Thousands of police officers have been deployed across the country to ensure that lockdown measures aren’t violated.
5- In the name of love
If there’s one country where people need to be extra careful about maintaining social distancing then it’s Italy, where 12,428 people have died and more than 100,000 cases have been reported.
But even here people are coming up with excuses to leave their homes. Italians have to declare the reason for their going out on a form as part of stringent lockdown regulations.
One man left his house to win over an ex-partner who had recently broken it off. In the form, he simply wrote his reason was: love.
People have stepped out in search of wine, and taken their cats along for walks and even travelled between towns to find “fresh eggs”.
The massive inflow of coronavirus patients has overwhelmed Italian hospitals where doctors have to make the difficult choice of deciding who should be put on mechanical ventilators because of the shortage of medical equipment.