Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Correspondent
POLICE in Bulawayo have said they will arrest any persons who violate new regulations aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19.
Government has come up with a number of measures, including the gazetting of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020 that provides for up to 12 months imprisonment for people who gather in crowds of more than 50 people.
Government has also announced a blanket ban on gatherings around recreational facilities such as night clubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gymnasiums and sporting activities until further notice. So far one person has succumbed to Covid-19 in Zimbabwe and globally 16 000 people have been killed.
During an anti-crime campaign held yesterday led by Officer Commanding Bulawayo Central District Chief Superintendent Marshal Dube, who was in the company of the Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube, police said any persons or business people, including bars and churches who do not heed the new regulations face arrest.
“We urge the peace-loving people of Bulawayo to comply with the new laws that have been put out by Government. As police we will ensure that such laws are followed and that any offenders are arrested. We will work to ensure that people comply for the protection of the public as we cannot risk law abiding citizens from being infected with the virus because of rogue elements,” said Insp Ncube.
Police also urged school pupils to stay at home this holiday. Schoolchildren should avoid coming into the CBD as the country is practicing social distancing, police added.
Schools closed yesterday and the Central Business District, particularly the area around the City Hall was full of pupils, some from boarding schools.
As is the norm, some pupils were going around the city, making merry, others picking fights, despite calls for social distancing that have been made by Government.
Speaking during the campaign, Insp Ncube said it was important for police to convey the message on social distancing to schoolchildren as they were the most defiant age groups.
He said the notorious Vuzu parties that take place during school holidays were also a potential threat as pupils may infect each other with Covid-19 at the infamous gatherings.
“We call upon youths to heed the call to stay at home. Schools have closed today and it was a noble decision by the Government and this move is meant to protect them. Now that schools have closed, they must stay at home. They have absolutely no business galivanting round town at such a time. This is a very different situation and we know that usually boarding school pupils will want to spend time in the city centre catching up with friends and all sorts of things. However, this time we urge everybody to stay at home and avoid all sorts of visits. Practice social distancing for your own safety and protect yourself as well,” said Insp Ncube.
“We also call upon parents who drag children to town for no reason not to do so at such a time. You find a mother struggling with three children to get into a Zupco bus, not coming from a doctor or anything, but from shopping. People must be sensible enough to stay at home and we must work together to decongest our streets and protect our children. Even adults who do not have much business in town must stay at home.”
He said in residential areas, police were urging parents and guardians to ensure that children remain within the confines of their yards.
Insp Ncube said allowing children to play on the streets poses the risk of infection. “The situation that we find ourselves in requires us to carry ourselves around in a befitting manner,” said Inspector Ncube.
Police also warned motorists on theft from car cases.
Motorists were urged to secure vehicles and ensure that they leave no valuables in parked cars.
Police said women and girls to avoid the threat of sexual assault, including rape, by desisting from boarding pirate taxis.
People must use public registered public service vehicles. “Theft from motor vehicles are now worrying. We also have growing cases of robberies, especially from these mshikashikas, the pirate taxis. We urge people to, especially women and girls to board registered public service vehicles and urge motorists to secure their cars and keep their valuable properties with them and not leave them in parked cars,” said Insp Ncube. — @Andile Tshuma