Characterised by apparent defiance and rampant violation of the current Covid-19 (coronavirus) regulations, Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo leads the pack of the country’s ten provinces with over 2 000 arrests recorded since the beginning of the now extended national lockdown which started on March 30.
Police records show that a total of 9 889 people have been arrested countrywide over lockdown violations.
On Sunday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a fourteen-day extension to the initial 21 he earlier declared as part of efforts to mitigate the spread of the castrophic Covid-19 scourge which has resulted in three deaths while 25 locals have tested positive to the ravaging pandemic.
Rampant defiance of Mnangagwa’s lockdown order and failure to maintain social distancing especially when residents queue to buy basic commodities have been reported in Bulawayo.
Police authorities say most of the people arrested in Bulawayo were nabbed for unnecessary movements in brazen defiance of the ‘stay-at-home’ lockdown order.
State media reported that since the beginning of the lockdown, imbibers continue to frequent public places and mushrooming shebeens in the high density suburbs. According to the Chronicle, the lockdown requirement which states that only one family member must travel and buy at shops within a five-kilometre radius of their homes is not observed.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi also revealed that after Bulawayo which has so far recorded 2 214 arrests, Manicaland province lies second with 1 975 arrests while the Midlands province has 1 289 lockdown violation-linked arrests.
In Harare 1 229 citizens have been arrested and 909 arrests have been made in Mashonaland West Province. Matabeleland South province has 820 arrests, Matabeleland North 469, Mashonaland Central 330, Mashonaland East province 330, Masvingo province 252 and Support Unit 64.
“Police remind the public to observe the social distance guidelines and to ensure they comply with the laws and regulations to enable the security services to effectively maintain law and order,” AssComm Nyathi said.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews