59 000 Arrested Over Masks

NEARLY 59 000 people have been arrested countrywide since March for not wearing face masks in public as required by public health regulations and police are now intensifying patrols, surveillance, checks and other measures and will arrest anyone found disregarding public health regulations and the eased lockdown regulations.

Those arrested over masks were released after paying deposit fines, although there was an option of taking them to court, where they could have been jailed or fined far higher sums.

Since March, Zimbabwe has recorded 9 398 Covid-19 positive cases, but 8 297 recovered while 274 died.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi reiterated that lockdown measures were still in force, including a curfew between 10pm and 6am.

“The enforcement of these health, safety and security measures is still paramount. Police have noted that some members of the public are no longer wearing face masks, observing social distancing guidelines and sanitising.

“Covid-19 is real and the public should avoid being complacent and should cooperate with law enforcement agencies to curb the spread of the pandemic. So far we have arrested a total of 58 981 people for not wearing face masks and we will continue arresting them so that the law will take its course since these people are posing a risk to others and the society.”

Asst Comm Nyathi urged members of the public to cooperate with police to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Recently, over 1 400 bar and nightclub owners around Harare were arrested on allegations of disregarding national lockdown regulations, with police deploying more officers to ensure compliance with health protocols. Bars and nightclubs remain closed under lockdown rules.

Police said there were increased cases of people violating curfew regulations and widespread public drinking at shopping centres especially in high-density suburbs.

There was also need to stick to regulations on public gatherings which are restricted to a maximum of 100 people or less at church gatherings, 50 people or less at funerals, low risk sports and sports clubs.

Weddings, birthday and house parties, political and other social gatherings including musical concerts, remain banned.

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