Mashonaland West Bureau
Enforcement of the new and intensified lockdown in Mashonaland West was strict yesterday.
Non-essential movement was barred while the curfew has been extended to 6pm to 6am. Business hours have been cut to 8am to 3pm, while public loitering is prohibited.
President Mnangagwa Thursday announced that the Government had been forced to put the three districts on an indefinite localised Covid-19 lockdown after a surge in positive cases and deaths.
Scores of non-essential travellers were denied access into or out of Karoi, Magunje and Kariba towns while three strict 24-hour roadblocks along Chinhoyi-Karoi highway were manned by uniformed and non-uniformed forces, with pirate taxis being and travellers being detained.
At Chanetsa turn-off, which is some 8km before Karoi town, police enforced strict lockdown measures with the team of officers being led by the officer commanding Hurungwe district, Chief Superintendent Helena Mahonde, conducting thorough checks on travellers wanting to enter or leave the local business hub and a major tobacco marketing cenre.
Monitoring and enforcement, however, proved to be a mammoth task for the police officers as many roads from the commercial and communal farms were unguarded.
“We have detained quite a number of people without travelling permits. The exercise has also seen a number of pirate taxi drivers being arrested. As police we continue to enforce the lockdown regulations so that cases are reduced,” said Chief Superintendent Mahonde.
There were also tight measures at the tobacco auction floors in the town where a few people could be seen delivering their tobacco while workers said they had to go for PCR tests for Covid-19 before reporting for duty.
An awareness campaign team with a public address system patrolled Magunje town where complacency was relatively high as compared to other hotspot areas in the three districts.
The situation was the same a few kilometres after Karoi along the Chirundu highway where security officers enforced the lockdown.
Apart from strict roadblocks that lead into and out of Chinhoyi town, capital of Makonde district and Mashonaland West, there were heavy police and army presence with shops and traders complying with the new normal of closing down business at 3 pm.
A Mashonaland West police spokesperson warned bottle store owners and drinkers to observe the new measures as police will not hesitate to arrest violators.
There has been a huge increase in the positive cases in the province, from 38 on Monday to over 100 cases Thursday. Mashonaland West acting health director Dr Gift Masoja said Hurungwe district had 11 health care facilities with 431 positive cases and three deaths with Karoi Hospital alone having recorded 343 positive cases.
Dr Masoja said Kariba had 246 active cases yesterday with 239 recoveries and 13 deaths.
Although the majority of the positive cases, were recorded in urban Kariba, there were positive cases being recorded in the rural Kariba district as well.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020, we have in this province recorded a cumulative figure of above 2647 and over 1980 have since recovered.
“Since June 1 this year, Makonde which was put under localised lockdown by President Mnangagwa has recorded two deaths and over 43 positive cases.”
He said the province had introduced a number of steps to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 including screening at all hospitals and clinics, testing at all the 14 hospitals and scaling up testing at clinics and contact tracing of all positive cases.
“There is a need to boost stocks of Covid-19 vaccines as the demand for it continues to rise,” he added.
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