By Mashudu Netsianda\ Patrick Chitumba
More than 1 000 people were arrested on Wednesday countrywide for flouting Covid-19 national lockdown regulations while in Bulawayo, police arrested 170 people and impounded 90 vehicles for lockdown defiance.
President Mnangagwa on Tuesday announced new measures which include cutting operating hours for businesses from 8am to 3pm as well as the introduction of a 6pm to 6am curfew following a surge in new infections and deaths due to Covid-19.
Also arrested the same day were 11 people at Nyamapanda and at Beitbridge border posts for illegal border crossing and smuggling of goods.
The police also reported that one deportee escaped from Standard Hotel quarantine centre in Bulawayo.
People escaping from quarantine centres have been accused of fuelling local infections which today are at 1 046 against imports which are at 988.
Police have launched several operations targeting those operating public transport without exemption letters.
In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said to date 111 979 people have been arrested for contravening the national lockdown regulations.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested 1 363 people throughout the country on 22 July for various offences related to contravention of the national lockdown regulations, bringing the total accumulative arrest to 111 979.”
“One deportee escaped from Standard Hotel quarantine centre in Bulawayo province on July 22 bringing cumulative number of escapees throughout the country to 284,” he said.
Ass Comm Nyathi said those who escaped and were accounted for remain at 30.
He said eight people were arrested at Nyamapanda Border Post for border jumping while three were arrested at Beitbridge Border Post for smuggling.
“Total number of arrests made at the two border posts since 16 May is now 574,” he said.
Ass Comm Nyathi said in other operations 305 people were arrested for refusing to accept the local currency.
“To date 305 people have been arrested for contravening Section 4 (1) of Statutory Instrument 175/2008 in terms of Section 48 of the Bank use promotion and suppression of money laundering Act, chapter 24: 04 in the ongoing operation (accept Zimbabwe currency as legal tender),” he said.
Ass Comm Nyathi said 4 382 motorists were arrested for illegally operating public transport.
“These operations will continue as the nation fights the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube, said 170 people were arrested on Wednesday for violation lockdown regulations while 90 vehicles were impounded after motorists were found driving aimlessly.
The impounded vehicles are being kept at Ross Camp Police Station.
“A number of police officers have been deployed and we are also conducting road campaigns because we have realised that there is a lot of defiance and motorists in particular think the Covid-19 lockdown is for pedestrians. It is worrying that people are disregarding the rules that have been set for their own safety,” said Insp Ncube. The Chronicle