Cops set up Covid-19 reaction teams
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has set up reaction teams in various provinces and districts that will help in enforcing the ban on public gatherings of over 50 people, following revelations that a number of bars in high density suburbs had largely ignored the directive.
The ban came through Statutory Instrument 77/20 (SI 77) gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which gives government powers to arrest people who are found breaking the law and also enforcing mandatory testing for suspected coronavirus cases.
However, a number of people defied the directive with reports that some bars were allowing over 50 patrons in their premises.
National police spokesperson Paul Nyathi yesterday said they were investigating reports of people who were ignoring the ban, saying the directive was meant to ensure public safety against the disease which has so far claimed over 18 000 lives globally and one in Zimbabwe.
“Reaction teams have been set in all the provinces and districts to contain and manage Covid-19 cases and assist stakeholders in ensuring strict adherence to the country’s laws. The reaction teams will work with different stakeholders and where need be, effect arrests,” Nyathi said.
He said the ZRP will religiously enforce the regulations, which are meant to combat the spread of the disease.
“The ZRP will ensure that there are no public gatherings exceeding 50 people in night clubs, bars, beer halls, swimming pools, gyms and churches. We call upon members of the public to cooperate with this directive to ensure their safety. Police commanders in provinces have been directed to ensure strict adherence to the ban,” Nyathi said, adding that people who will fail to comply with the directive, will be arrested and prosecuted.
Those found on the wrong side of the law, face up to one year in prison or a fine of $36 000 in terms of the new regulations.
“Any person who — (a) disobeys an order … having been ordered to be detained, isolated or quarantined in any place, removes himself or herself from such detention, isolation or quarantine without the knowledge or consent of an enforcement officer, or contrary to any conditions specified for any temporary release from such detention, isolation or quarantine; shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 12 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both such fine and such imprisonment. Any person who escapes from any place of detention, isolation or quarantine may be arrested without warrant,” reads part of the regulations.