800K Arrested in Zimbabwe for Lockdown Violations

Pretiosa Chimuti

NEARLY 800 000 people have been arrested since March last year for violating regulations aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, police have said.

Harare Metropolitan province accounts for most of the arrests with over 236 000 people having been taken into police custody since the first lockdown.

Most of the arrests were for offences that include violating movement restrictions, gathering and failure to wear masks.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Sunday Mail that: “As at 7th July 2021, police have arrested a cumulative total of 797 961 people for offences related to Covid-19 since 30 March 2020.

“Most of these arrests were for offences in relation to the Liquor Act, Road Traffic Act, operating business offences, violating movement restrictions, gathering offences, failure to wear a mask and other offences.”

Bulawayo (121 168) had the second highest number of arrests followed by Manicaland (98 379), Masvingo (71 263), Mashonaland East (73 861), Mashonaland West (60 895), Mashonaland Central (56 218) and Midlands (39 644).

There were 23 569 arrests in Matabeleland South and 16 123 in Matabeleland North.

The police Support Unit accounted for 107 arrests.

More than 4 000 people were arrested last Wednesday last week for violating the enhanced Level Four national lockdown regulations.

“On Wednesday 7 July 2021, a total of four thousand three hundred and four (4 304) people were arrested throughout the country for various offences related to contraventions of the National Lockdown regulations. “Breakdown of arrests and offences are as follows: 73 were arrested for liquor related offences; 238 for Road Traffic Act (violations); 77 for contravening Section 4(1)(c) of SI 83/20 ‘Opening of business establishment during national lockdown except those exempted’; 831 for contravening Section 4(1)(a) of SI 83/20 ‘Unnecessary movement during national lockdown except those exempted’.

“Six for contravening Section 5(1) of SI 83/20 ‘Gathering of more than two individuals in a public place during national lockdown except those exempted’, 2 437 failures to wear face masks and, 642 (under the) Miscellaneous Offences Act.”

Stricter lockdown measures, which include a ban on all public gatherings and inter-city travel, a  6.30pm to 6am night curfew and reduced operating hours for businesses, recently came into force.

Businesses have also been ordered to decongest to minimise chances of infection.

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