Zimbabwe arrests 10,000 in a week for not wearing face masks
London, Jan. 14, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Police in Zimbabwe have arrested 10,000 people over the last week for failing to wear face masks in public and 16,000 others for flouting lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, the authorities say.
Most of the offenders were ordered to pay $500 as admission of guilt fine, the privately owned NewZimbvbawe.com website reported.
This brings the total number of people arrested, since last March for flouting lockdown regulations, to 309 061.
Addressing a press conference in Harare, the acting information minister Jenfan Muswere, said Harare and Bulawayo continue to lead in both the number of new Covid-19 infections and deaths.
“What is worrying is that within a week 9 993 people were arrested for not wearing masks and this points to negligence by some members of the society who are not taking this virus seriously and this calls for behavior change,” Muswere said.
“Whilst the virus might not kill offenders, it has a potential to affect the next person who is a loved one, a mother, a father, a colleague, a sister or a brother.
“As of 6th January 2021, a total of 309 061 arrests were made countrywide for flouting lockdown regulations, indicating an increase of 16 286, from the 292 775 recorded in the last briefing.
“It is evident that there is need for national discipline and self-prudence as we wage a war against this invisible enemy. We cannot afford to have a lackadaisical approach in this fight as it will annihilate us”.
However, the minister applauded most Zimbabweans for adhering to set Covid-19 regulations.
“Whilst the generality of Zimbabweans have conducted themselves very well, it is quite disturbing that there are individuals who are wantonly disregarding the dictates of the lockdown regulations thereby unnecessarily putting many lives at risk.
“This kind of behaviour is deplorable and must be condemned. It is imperative that we all act responsibly if we are to survive the onslaught as this reckless behaviour threatens to jeopardise our very own existence.”
A hard lockdown came into force on 5 January after cases doubled last month because of festive season gatherings and traffic from neighbouring South Africa, which is experiencing a severe second wave of the virus.
The highest number of daily deaths from coronavirus – 38 – were recorded on Wednesday. Currently more than 9,000 people have Covid-19.
The surge in cases has threatened to overwhelm health services, and health care workers have been hit by a shortage of protective gear as they battle to cope with an increase in the number of patients, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.
Healthcare workers have been hit by shortages of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) as the number of patients increases.
In total, there have been more than 34,000 Covid-19 cases and almost 600 deaths since the first case was detected in March.