Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Kazembe Kazembe, has expressed concern over the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s vulnerability in their frontline duties against the novel coronavirus.
This comes amid revelations that frontline police officers require at least 35 000 masks per day to protect themselves and the public they interact with.
The minister revealed this following a donation by Puma Energy Zimbabwe consisting of 5 000 reusable face masks, 16 automatic hand sanitisers and 20 000 pairs of latex gloves.
“We are receiving PPEs from universities, donors and other stakeholders but the numbers we require are huge,” said Minister Kazembe.
“The enforcement officers on the ground require around 35 000 masks per day if they are not reusable. This is a huge number in any language. However, efforts are being made to ensure we have adequate PPEs for our frontline officers.
“Government, through the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce Sub-committee on Materials Production, has put in place mechanisms to ensure production is ramped up to meet the demand. Government is committed to ensuring safety of our officers as well as those that they interact with.”
The donation by Puma Energy was presented to the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 led by its chairman Vice President Kembo Mohadi.
Puma Energy Zimbabwe general manager Mr Cydwell Chitewe said frontline police officers who are vulnerable to the pandemic should be well-equipped.
“Our police force plays a vital role in enforcing lockdown compliance,” said Mr Chitewe.
“As Puma Energy we want to fight this crisis with all Zimbabweans. We need to support and bolster the efforts of our medical teams that are working tirelessly in our hospitals and medical facilities. We also need to support essential services workers like the police force who are at the forefront of this crisis.
“It is our collective responsibility to slow down the rate of spread of the coronavirus so that we can efficiently and effectively use the resources we have.”
Mr Chitewe said he hoped that Puma Energy’s contribution would heighten awareness and the need for people to change their social habits.
Since President Mnangagwa announced the 21-day national lockdown which began on March 30, ZRP set up 24-hour surveillance systems and roadblocks throughout the country to ensure compliance with the laws regarding control of the spread of Covid-19.
Last week, South African media reported that 12 police officers tested positive for Covid-19 during regular South African Police Service (SAPS) testing processes.
In New York City, United States of America, reports indicate that over 17 percent of NYPD’s 55 000 workforce is infected while five members of the department have died. The Sunday Mail