By Mukudzei Chingwere
The Government has expressed concern over illegal public transporters saying it is increasing surveillance and enforcement of the law.
Illegal commuter omnibus crews continue playing a cat and mouse game with police and appear unwilling to register under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) franchise as required by Government.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said authorities had noted a worrying trend of an upsurge in the use of unauthorised passenger-carrying vehicles that were not affiliated to ZUPCO.
“Social distancing and other Covid-19 measures are hardly being observed by passengers in these vehicles.
“In order to curb this development, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Traffic Safety Council (ZTSC) are enhancing surveillance and enforcement,” she said.
She also reiterated that existing restrictions like the continued closure of all bars and nightclubs were still in force.
“Bottle stores should strictly open for takeaways, as required by the law. Restaurants are expected to continue to be open for 50 percent sit-in capacity, takeaways and deliveries.
“Cabinet approved that the operating times for the restaurants be extended to 2100 hours.”
“In light of the general lack of compliance to Covid-19 regulations by citizens, the Law and Order Sub-Committee will step up surveillance and enforcement, including community engagement on the risks associated with such complacency,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Boarders who got infected by Covid-19 would be isolated and assisted to recuperate at their respective schools while efforts to strengthen control measures had been heightened to avoid a spike in infections.
The move is meant to control the geographical spread of the virus, while allowing the few infected to be assisted without risking infecting more people.
“Cabinet wishes to restate that any boarding school learners who test positive for Covid-19 should be isolated at their respective schools and should not be taken home,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa also advised that the provincial education and health focal teams had been successfully trained for Covid-19 response in schools.
She said each province had developed a plan for implementation of enhanced infection prevention and control, surveillance, risk communication and community engagement.
“It is envisaged that compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be enhanced and buttressed by the standardised approach to the management of outbreaks in schools.
“On confirmed Covid-19 cases in schools, Cabinet advises that 126 new infections were detected through the school’s surveillance system during the week under review.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said as of Monday, 437 751 people had received their first dose and 99 765 their second dose across the country.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa also said Cabinet was briefed on the hailstorm disaster that occurred in the Mutasa and Chipinge districts of Manicaland Province last Friday.
“The disaster which occurred on Friday 30th April 2021 resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure and houses, leaving a number of households without food.
“One person was seriously injured. Cabinet would like to assure the citizens that the necessary assistance will be rendered to all the affected families,” she said.