10 000 arrested for mask violations in one week

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
NEARLY 10 000 people have been arrested countrywide for not wearing face masks and more than 16 000 were arrested for flouting lockdown regulations within a week.

Government has expressed concern that citizens seem to have developed lockdown fatigue at a time when the virus is spreading faster in communities.

It warned that if members of the public do not exercise discipline, Covid-19 would kill more people in the country.

Government has said it is drafting a Covid-19 vaccine framework and a plan is being developed.

As of Tuesday, more than 23 000 had contracted Covid-19 while 551 had succumbed to it. A total of 13 396 have recovered from the virus.

Nearly two weeks ago, Government imposed tight lockdown regulations to contain the spike of Covid-19.

In a statement yesterday, acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said it was worrying that some citizens were violating measures that are meant to protect them from the virus.

“As of 6 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. 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 society who are not taking this virus seriously and this calls for behaviour change,” said Minister Muswere.

“While 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.”

The minister said while some members of the public are disregarding Covid-19 prevention measures, Government has observed with concern that the virus recovery rate had dropped from 80,6 percent to 57,6 percent.

He said self-discipline is crucial if the country is to escape the Covid-19 second wave.

“As many observers have noted in the past few weeks for many of us, the pandemic continues to hit much closer to home as we are losing close family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours, workmates and acquaintances. We cannot afford to have a lackadaisical approach in this fight as it will annihilate us all,” he said.

“While 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. Fellow Zimbabweans, 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.”

Minister Muswere said Bulawayo and Harare still dominate the Covid-19 infections and deaths but this should not make other provinces relax as the virus is widespread across the country.

The minister reminded members of the public that only a maximum of 30 people is allowed to attend funeral services.

He said the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) public examinations are progressing well without incident.

Minister Muswere said the Government is still continuing with Covid-19 awareness campaigns to ensure the message cascades to grassroots levels.

He said the public should heed Acting President Kembo Mohadi’s message that the only way to escape the Covid-19 pandemic is to follow regulations including washing and sanitisation of hands, properly wearing masks, staying at home and social distancing.

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