Be responsible or face the law
... authorities warn corona offenders
By Godknows Matarutse and Mugove Tafirenyika
AUTHORITIES have warned that they will take tough measures, including conducting door-to-door raids, if people continue to disregard coronavirus regulations meant to curb the spread of the killer virus in the country.
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe also warned that the government would permanently revoke the licences of bars and nightclubs caught violating Covid-19 regulations.
This comes as police have already arrested thousands of people for various breaches of Covid-19 regulations — amid soaring deaths and infections in the country.
“My ministry is concerned with bars, night clubs, restaurants, and other business entities that are operating, yet according to Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, this is banned.
“I have directed the commissioner-general of police to ensure that the law takes its course on any individual, syndicate or business entity contravening Covid-19 regulations.
“Police officers will move around all suburbs, shopping centres and even check houses to account for transgressions against Covid-19 regulations and other criminal activities,” Kazembe said.
“I urge the public to report to the nearest police station any individuals or groups holding parties, musical events or any other gatherings not sanctioned under Covid-19 regulations.
“I am equally disturbed by some shopping centres in some areas which are now known for wild parties, drinking binges and all sorts of illegalities. This should stop forthwith.
“Organisers of such events will face the wrath of the law and risk losing their licences. The ministry has also noted with concern, that despite funerals being allowed a maximum of 30 people, this limit is being disregarded by many,” Kazembe added.
“Citizens are urged to observe this regulation. Any violation of this requirement will be dealt with in accordance with the law. “Let us co-operate with law enforcement officers and contribute towards the government’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19,” he said further.
This came as police revealed that 3 150 people had been arrested countrywide on Wednesday for contravening Covid-19 national lockdown regulations — of which 1 651 had been nabbed for not wearing face masks in public.
It also comes as authorities have banned inter-provincial travel, in a bid to curb the spread of the novel virus.
Speaking in an earlier interview with the Daily News yesterday, deputy Health minister John Mangwiro said the government had gazetted a Statutory Instrument that gives legal effect to the harder lockdown restrictions.
“The banning of inter-city travel is already in the Statutory Instrument. Inter-city and inter-provincial travels are banned. “What we left moving are only those commercial vehicles carrying food and other essentials around, otherwise travelling from one city to the other is prohibited under the lockdown regulations.
“The vice president (Constantino Chiwenga) pronounced this and it is now in black and white. So, no one should mistake this,” Mangwiro said.
Highly-regarded Bulawayo-based doctor, Solwayo Ngwenya, said the country’s soaring deaths and infections needed to be checked by tough measures such as the latest ban on inter-provincial travelling.
“It was always going to happen that the lockdown would be made stricter with travelling restricted, including inter-city and inter-provincial, and with only emergency services allowed because deaths were going
to continue escalating,” he said.
On his part, the president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), Enock Dongo, revealed that health workers on the frontline were becoming Covid-19 spreaders.
“Health service workers, particularly nurses, have become a danger to the people, instead of being their healthcare providers, because the majority of them, if tested, will return positive results.
“It is only that we are not being tested, probably because the authorities fear that if they do so almost all of us will return positive results, meaning a critical shortage of staff.
“In terms of PPE, we are working with inadequate protection and we have now become one of the biggest sources of the virus.
“The few PPE that is there is being given to so-called red zones, which the ministry is taking as priority areas, such as Parirenyatwa,” Dongo told the Daily News.
“However, and because of the speed with which the virus is spreading in communities, the red zones cannot accommodate all patients — hence they are being admitted elsewhere. “What this means is that health workers
are now handling Covid-19 patients without PPE that includes head covers, face covers, goggles, N95 face masks, disposable gowns, aprons and washable gumboots,” Dongo said further.
This also comes after 34 people died and 1 365 others were infected by the lethal virus in one day on Tuesday this week — the country’s highest daily figure since the novel virus was first reported in Zimbabwe in March last year.
A further 13 people died on Wednesday, while 610 infections were also recorded all in all — bringing the country’s cumulative total confirmed cases to 17 804, including 431 deaths.
The country has just started the new month-long and stiffened stay-at-home order, as authorities bid to curb Covid-19’s spread in the country. The reversion to a hard lockdown has also seen authorities re-introducing a fresh
In addition, the operations of all businesses — except those providing essential services — were also once again suspended for 30 days, as authorities battle to curb the spread of the lethal disease. The re-imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew means that people are prohibited from being out and about between 6pm and 6am, except for those providing essential services.
In addition, supermarkets now operate from 8am to 3pm. But air travel and essential land transportation across borders for trucks continue under the new measures announced by Vice President Chiwenga, who is also the country’s Health minister.