BY MOSES MATENGA
POLICE yesterday said only those classified as essential service providers would be allowed to travel into city centres for the next 30 days as government intensifies measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 which has already stretched the country’s health delivery system.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said those who defied the directive would be arrested while warning against failure to put on face masks.
“In view of the revised COVID-19 regulations announced by the government, the police reiterates that only employees in the essential service sectors such as health, security, food distribution, banking institutions, mining services, communication and telecommunications, agricultural production will be allowed to pass through checkpoints and roadblocks,” Nyathi said.
Zimbabwe goes into lockdown starting today as announced by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga at the weekend.
The lockdown was necessitated by a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the last two months.
On Sunday, Zimbabwe recorded 774 new cases and three deaths. The country has recorded over 380 deaths to date.
“Police will effect arrests on anyone who will be found in public places such as supermarkets, banks, pick-up points and others without wearing or improperly putting on masks and not practising social distancing,” Nyathi said.
Those in the essential service include health workers who police said should be in uniform and in possession of identity documents while those in civilian attire should produce a letter from their employers stating the place, dates and times of reporting for duty.
“Members of the public, entities in the essential services sectors such as food distribution and retailers, mining, communication and telecommunications, agricultural production,
security companies as pronounced by government and the media are advised that after consultation with the COVI-19 ministerial taskforce, movement and exemption letters will be issued by the Ministry of Industry,” the police said.
Commercial A2 and A1 farmers should carry with them offer letters or lease agreements while communal farmers need letters from the headmen or village heads.
On buying food, Nyathi said: “There is no need for movement exemption letters for those going to buy or restock foodstuffs or medication within a five-kilometre radius from place of residence, unless there is no such establishment within that radius or needed service is not available there, in which case, one may obtain it from the nearest location to his or her home.”
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